TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Every year some 2.3 million men and women worldwide succumb to work-related accidents or diseases, estimates the International Labour Organisation, which corresponds to over 6,000 deaths a day. ILO report also says that around 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses occur annually.
These estimates, ILO says, indicate an increase in accidents and ill health among workers. The figures are indeed worrying and point fingers at poor working conditions.
The question, however, is how could we change that? The answer is clear.
Changes will come only through exercising stringent regulations and government-level intervention, which most people around the globe say are “difficult to come by.” The latest statistics, however, say things are different in Bahrain, where the regulations are stringent and focused.
The latest Government data supports this and shows that recordable injuries and illness in the private sector continued their drop in Bahrain in 2022.
Citing the report released yesterday, Jameel Humaidan, the Minister of Labour and Chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Council, said labour accidents in Bahrain edged down to 121 cases in the first half of this year from 123 in the same period a year ago.
Releasing the stats, the minister affirmed that the efforts of Bahrain to enhance the protection of workers are eliciting positive results. “It has contributed to improving the safety measures in various works sites in the private sector, leading to a significant decrease in serious occupational injuries, compared to the past three years.”
The ministry, he said, has been performing a periodic review to assess the risks related to occupational safety and health to ensure that establishments are complying with the safety standards and conditions set by the authorities. The semi-annual report on occupational safety and health states that the ministry officials conducted 395 visits to worksites until June this year, an increase from 332 visits held last year. Minister said this increase in inspection visits reflects the ministry’s interest in enhancing the work environment.
To this end, the ministry, Humaidan said, also issued 113 warnings to establishments to remove violations to avoid accidents. The report also puts the number of work-related injuries reported during H1 2022 at 46. Humaidan said the ministry also received 12 complaints regarding safety and health measures taken at work sites.
Bahrain, the minister said, seeks to improve the quality of the work environment to make it more productive, enhance Bahrain’s competitiveness, attract investments that generate quality jobs and drive the growth of the labour market.
For this, Bahrain has implemented a series of advanced national legislation offering protection to workers from all kinds of accidents, injuries and occupational diseases. “Reducing work site accidents, occupational disease and securing work environment are at the forefront of these factors that support economic growth,” said the minister.
The half-yearly report also highlights the growing awareness of occupational safety and health in private sector establishments.
Private sector establishments, the report said, prioritised training their workforce, which the minister said also contributes to attracting international investments in safety equipment and technology. “These measures are helping the Kingdom keep pace with the latest developments in the sector,” the minister said, calling on all establishments to enhance proactive measures at work sites and choose appropriate machines and technologies.
Workers’ commitment crucial
The minister also urged establishments to monitor workers’ commitment to personal protective equipment to prevent unfortunate occupational accidents. The minister said he had also directed the concerned department in the ministry to study the causes of the accidents reported this year and prepare recommendations to employers to prevent their recurrence.
The minister said Bahrain will not tolerate violations and will hold periodic visits to ensure adherence to safety protocols. “Preserving the safety and health of workers is one of the priorities of Bahrain and part of Bahrain’s keenness to protect and maintain human rights,” the minister said.