Mbada, Zimplats scoop awards

HARARE - Zimbabwe Platinum Mines processing plant has been awarded the 2011 National Award for Occupational Safety and Healthy ahead of 2 088 inspected companies by the National Social Security Authority (Nssa).

Bitumen Construction Services and Zimasco Shurugwi came second and third respectively.

Mbada Diamonds, one of the biggest winners, scooped three awards, gold in the national award for employee wellness, bronze in provincial safety and silver in the mining sector for Manicaland.

Vumbachikwe Mine took the Most Improved Company award while civil engineering contractors’ accolade was awarded to Bitumen Construction Services.

In a speech read on her behalf, Labour and Social Services minister Paurina Mpariwa, said government, though aware of the economic challenges, expected companies to maintain high occupational health and safety standards.

“Your resilience in establishing and maintaining good standards in occupational safety and health is well recognised. I want to appeal to those employers who have not yet accepted the responsibility to prevent accidents to pick up speed and catch up with others,” said Mpariwa.

The minister said 4 158 serious occupational injuries had been recorded by her ministry last year.

Nssa director Rodgers Dhliwayo said companies should strive to excel in occupational health and safety as it has a direct bearing on production.

“There is no organisation that does not need workers. Every company succeeds or fails through its workers. There is need for a paradigm shift in many companies on such issues so that they begin to realise that safety of workers is a priority,” he said.

“In 2011 there were 65 fatalities, then one wonders why we are here celebrating. We are celebrating because when other companies were killing their workers, others were busy protecting theirs,” she said.

Nssa revealed that occupational accidents and deaths at the workplace account for up to 20 percent of losses accrued by companies annually.

Dhliwayo added that it was worrying that out of the multitudes of companies operating in Zimbabwe, only 41 of them were certified on occupational health and safety.

“That is a very small number in a country that has 20, 30 or even 50 000 workplaces.”

He said Nssa measured success in totally preventing accidents in a one million hours per year working period.

Zimplats attributed the company’s success in maintaining high safety standards to its adoption of a systematic approach through a sound company policy.

“We are proud to be carrying the country’s safety and health high. Practice alone cannot take you far but there is need to turn it into a system. That way you will excel,” the company said.

Haggie Rand Mine, Metallon’s Red Wing Mine,Total Zimbabwe Limited and Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries were among other winners. - Wendy Muperi

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