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AfricaMoney | August 23, 2017

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Mauritius seeks to bring work fatalities down to zero

Mauritius seeks to bring work fatalities down to zero

As Mauritius seeks to become a high-income nation, it is essential that labour issues relating to health and safety at work are addressed with all possible speed. (Image: Denis Lacour)

The labour minister of Mauritius declared his intent to bring down the number of fatal work accidents in Mauritius down to zero, at a forum on safety and health at work held earlier this week.
During the one-day ‘Assises de la Sécurité au Travail,’ Shakeel Mohamed said that every employer who does not comply with norms and regulations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 2005 will be severely punished by law.
More than 100 participants – mainly representatives from the Government, Employers’ organizations and Workers’ organizations including Safety and Health professionals – were present at the forum held at Cybercity, Ebene.
The forum rued that certain companies in Mauritius do not provide safety equipment to their employees and, due to this basic neglect, the number of fatal accidents increases.
The forum created a platform where all stakeholders can discuss challenges and prospects of safety at work and provide ideas and recommendations to improve the safety outlook.
As Mauritius seeks to become a high-income nation, it is essential that labour issues relating to health and safety at work are addressed with all possible speed.
Needless to say, work injuries have a negative impact on the economy. The sum of all work accidents drags down the country’s GDP by 0.05%, according to an International Labour Organization (ILO) project funded by the European Union.
Mauritius, a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), is obliged to submit regular reports on the applications of conventions which have been ratified by the country. Till September 2013, the island economy has agreed to apply 39 conventions.
The International Labour Organization’s annual report from 2003 to 2012 shows that, for Mauritius, the total number of work accidents have decreased to 363 cases compared to 2008, when the total number of accidents stood at 609.
Last year, there were 9 notified fatal accidents, 231 notified non-fatal accidents and 123 non-notified accidents, and 5 dangerous occurrences.
Organizing talks on occupational safety and health each year is an important part of the strategy to sensitize people about the dangers at work, the annual report stated.
These talks take place at the Occupational Safety and Health Training and Information Centre, and on site.
However, the number of persons sensitized has decreased to 2,824 where only 185 people went at the information centre and 114 people went on site.
In 2012, 139 cases were lodged in court for organizational failure to comply with provisions of occupational safety and health.
The ILO provides a comprehensive checklist of health and safety standards to all companies for safety management.
The statistics for work accidents of expatriate workers showed that the number remained the same in 2011 and 2012.
The number of injury cases in 2012 has improved on the back of reduced accidents in construction, and public administration & defence, sectors. Compulsory social security reported 4 and 3 cases respectively, whereas in 2011, the manufacturing industry was the most affected with 21 cases.
On child labour, the island economy follows international best practices, with not a single case being reported in 2012.

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