THE RIGHT TO A SAFE AND HEALTHY WORKING ENVIRONMENT
Friday, 28th April 2023 is World Day for Safety and Health at Work, and this year is a celebration of a safe and healthy working environment being recognised as a fundamental principle and right at work. This recognition came in June 2022, at the International Labour Conference. Accident Compensation Commission, Fiji (ACCF) CEO, Mr Parvez Akbar says the importance and significance of the right to a safe and healthy working environment cannot be overemphasised.
ACCF has received a total of 10,268 notifications of employment accidents from employers since 01st January 2019. Most of these injuries were caused by slips, trips and falls, machinery, handling materials and tools, stepping/ striking against objects and fire or hot substances. The industries where the majority of workers were injured include manufacturing, retail trade, tourism, construction, and mining. These injuries could mostly have been prevented and ACCF continues to be a leading voice in creating awareness on health and safety at work, and in particular the building of a positive safety and health culture. This includes daily engagement on social media, face to face and online presentations with the public, stakeholders and interested parties. ACCF also regularly identifies potential breaches of health and safety obligations and refers them to the relevant authority for action.
A healthy workplace is one where workers and management collaborate to continually improve the health, safety and wellbeing of all workers and by doing this, sustain the productivity of the business. Mr. Akbar encourages employers, employees and all stakeholders to work together in preventing incidents of illnesses and accidents in the workplace.
Central to achieving healthy and safe workplaces is effective leadership. Leaders play a crucial role in developing and sustaining a strong health and safety culture and performance.
Leaders should demonstrate that there is nothing more important than the health and safety of their people and they should be held accountable for health and safety. Mr Akbar also encourages workers to take individual ownership for their own health and safety, and those around them.