The Africa regional office of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-AFRICA) has urged employers of labour to extend compensation to workers who got infected with covid-19 pandemic at workplace.
According to a statement to commemorate the International Workers Memorial Day 2021, the general Secretary of ITUC-AFRICA, comrade Kwasi Adu-Amankwah also demanded adequate and quality PPEs for workers at the workplace.
Comrade Adu-Amankwah lamented that about 2.3 million workplace deaths happen annually across the world, stressing that Africa accounts for 240,000 of this number of deaths
“While the commemoration of this date is primarily to mourn the dead, the day is also dedicated to drawing attention to the importance of health and safety at the workplace urging employers and workers alike to adopt safe working conditions of work.
“Recent updates by the ILO show about 2.3 million workplace deaths happen annually across the world. Africa accounts for 240,000 of this number of deaths and this translates to an average of 670 deaths daily. Grave as these figures seem, they do not even include workplace accidents that occur within the informal economy since these often go undocumented.
“Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has further aggravated the prevalence of unsafe workplaces and increased the number of fatalities at the workplace, raising the need for COVID-19 to be considered as a workplace disease. In many countries around the world, COVID-19 is further compounding the poor state of public healthcare as well as the absence of adequate social infrastructure and social protection provisions. The issue of inadequate personal protective equipment has also been a major problem during this pandemic. In Africa, this scenario has further been worsened by the poor state of organization of our societies and by extension, the workplace.
“The reality of COVID-19 thus reinforces the need for countries to reassess the organization of not only the workplace to more humane and safe conditions but societies at large”.
On the theme of this year’s commemoration which is “Save Lives At Work” underscores the urgency for Governments, employers, workers as well as all relevant institutions and organizations to deepen efforts towards the reduction of preventable workplace accidents, injuries and deaths.
The ITUC also call on both the ILO, AU and other bodies to ensure the adoption of Occupational Safety and Health as a fundamental right at work in line with the ILO Centenary Declaration which recognizes safety and health as a human right.
“At the Global level, we call on the tripartite body of the ILO to move to the adoption of
Occupational Safety and Health as a fundamental right at work in line with the ILO Centenary Declaration which recognizes safety and health as a human right;
“At the Regional level, we call on the African Union (AU) and all stakeholders to support existing efforts of OSH-Africa and other partners on the pursuance of a Regional protocol on Occupational Safety and Health.
“At the national level, we call on Governments to accelerate the ratification, domestication and deepen implementation and enforcement of relevant OSH conventions in Africa, particularly the Ouagadougou convention.
“At the enterprise level, we reiterate that safe workplaces are the prerogative of a happy and productive workforce. Providing and ensuring a safe workplace for workers is, therefore, a prerequisite for a productive and happy workplace.
“We, therefore, call on companies to provide the following in line with the current threat of COVID-19, Adequate and Quality PPEs for Workers at the Workplace , COVID-19 Safety Protocols Reinforced at all Workplaces, Consider and treat COVID-19 as a Workplace Disease, Compensation to be extended to affected COVID-19 victims at the Workplace and the Review existing workplace OHS policies and programmes to facilitate early detection, management and prevention of workplace diseases”.