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Occupational accidents attributed to violation of safety regulations

Workers at a construction site using dirty cement bags to protect their heads on Tuesday February 18, 2020. Photo by KNA.
Men carrying a maize bag double his weight, which has the capacity of injuring his spinal cord. Photo by KNA.

The  frequent tragedies in the country has been attributed to the violation of safety regulations by both the employer and employee, who perceive adherence as a waste of time or keep on postponing their implementation.

However, the Nakuru County Occupational Safety and Health Officer, Ondimu  Simba  said the numerous and repeated shifting of goals keep on contributing to collapsing buildings and industrial fires in various parts of the country.

Speaking to KNA in his office on Tuesday, Simba said in a number of buildings the emergency exits are blocked to prevent people from stealing office equipment, without the safety consideration of the workers, in case of a fire outbreak.

He said the Occupational Safety and Health Act 2007 mandates employers to provide free protective equipment including clothing and appliances such as suitable gloves, footwear, goggles and head coverings for the workers involved in hazardous work.

He added that it was also the responsibility of employers to provide Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) but at most construction sites workers carry and mix cement without any protection and thus keep on inhaling small particles which may cause asthma and other respiratory diseases.

He  said the occupational safety regulation also stipulates that a person should only carry luggage half their weight but even workers who weigh 60-70 kilogram are sometimes made to off-load sacks weighing 90 kilograms, which affects their spinal cords.

He  urged the jua kali and informal employees to shift their mindsets from just earnings but to also mind their safety.

By  Veronica  Bosibori

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