Workplace health, safety call for greater attention

27Sep 2019
The Guardian
Workplace health, safety call for greater attention

SEEING how so few many people know hardly anything about such hugely important issues or phenomena that have been around for years only underscores the cliché to the effect that ‘information is power’ – if that saying has indeed grown into a cliché.

For instance, a recent audience with the media lasting a short three hours proved a golden opportunity for a government agency that seldom goes public and is seldom in the news.


This is none other than the Occupation Safety and Health Authority, a little better known as OSHA, which gives its mission as so regulating, enforcing and promoting sound safety and health standards as to ensure that workers across mainland Tanzania are safe and healthy.

It introduces itself as a government agency under the Labour, Youth, Employment and Persons with Disabilities ‘wing’ of the Prime Minister’s Office “set up with the aim of improving the health and well-being of workers and workplaces” through the promotion of occupational health and safety (OHS) practices “in order to prevent occupational injuries and diseases and ultimately achieve better productivity”.

What such an inherently noble mission and how near-effortless it would ordinarily be for the agency to make much bigger positive impact and therefore a much bigger name!

But, surprise, surprise, this remains a remote dream and those concerned have to make tonnes upon tonnes of sensitisation and promotion efforts to make before possibly affording a breather to let the music play, as it were.

By definition, this agency is both expected and supposed to play a life-saving role through prevention or, when the worst comes to the worst, through cure.

Now, consider this: OSHA says that it has time-tested capacity to deliver multi-pronged sensitisation and other tailor-made training even at its clients’ own premises at what it believes is affordable cost.

However, it admits that it is not often that things run as smoothly as they would have wanted – and hence their short-term and long-term plans towards enhanced efficiency and credibility for the good of all parties concerned.

Few interventions mean more to workers than arming them with knowledge expertly designed to help them manage their health and safety effectively and thus as much as possible help them perform their duties free from risk of work-related injury and diseases.

It would be all the better should such efforts have some form of “multiplier effect” and generally support the thriving of a positive health and safety culture within everyday working life.

We are also told that it is an integral part of OSHA’s mandate to serve as overseer of employers’ legal compliance with the protection of their workers’ health and safety.

That also counts for yet another plus likely to improve productivity for the benefit of workers and employees as well as the economy.

OSHA finds comfort in declaring that they are a vital cog in the wheel with respect to making efforts aimed at minimising the cost of accidents and ill health at work.

All other factors being supportive, what employer wouldn’t relish such atmosphere? What employee wouldn’t feel motivated into greater diligence working in such an environment? What economy wouldn’t thrive?

All this is reason enough for OSHA to deserve grater public support and for the agency itself to serve its clients and the nation as efficiently as it has resources for.