Rights report flags out work fatalities under reportage

By Own Correspondent

THE U.S. 2023 Human Rights Report for Zimbabwe has flagged out weak follow up of work related fatalities under reportage amid calls for relevant institutions to strengthen their systems.

The report observes that the Zimbabwe Occupational Safety and Health Council reported 3,718 injuries and 55 fatalities from January through September 2022, but concerns are that this number does not include all workers outside of factory-related environments.

Most work-related injuries and deaths occurred in the mining sector due to low investment in occupational safety and health, noncompliance with rules and regulations, and poor awareness of safety and health practices due to lack of training.

 The growth of the informal mining sector led to increased exposure to chemicals and environmental waste for artisanal miners, including children.

 The report says Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) estimated that 190 miners died in mining accidents in 2020, a figure which is way above than officially reported stats.

“The Ministry of Public Service and Labor is responsible for enforcing the minimum wage and work hour’s laws for each sector. The government did not effectively enforce these laws, particularly in the farming and domestic service sectors,” said the report.

The report also notes that the number of labour inspectors was insufficient to enforce labour laws, including those covering children.

“Penalties for violations of wage or working hour restrictions were not commensurate with penalties for comparable offenses. Penalties were sometimes applied against violators,” the report added.

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