by Tonderai Evidence Karidza

Safety, Health and Environmental Management has become an integral component in all spheres of the economy. It is now the key factor for all the industries in order to promote the wellness of employees, customers and the general environment.

Every organization has its own list of risks that they need to address for the safety of their own employees, public and the natural environment. Investment in Safety, Health and Environment Management programs is as important as profit maximization.

It is important to note that good business or service is safe, health and sustainable.

International and national standards, regulations and procedures have been designed to promote Safety, Health and Environmental Management in various sectors. The introduction and development of international and national Safety, Health and Environmental legislation clearly indicate the magnitude of the value of such issues in all organizations or industries.

The International Labour Organisation has adopted more than 40 standards specifically dealing with Occupational Safety and Health, as well as over 40 Codes of Practices. These includes Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187), Hygiene (Commerce and Offices) Convention, 1964 (No. 120), Safety and Health in Construction Convention, 1988 (No. 167), Safety and Health in Mines Convention, 1995 (No. 176), Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention, 2001 (No. 184) and Working Environment (Air Pollution, Noise and Vibration Convention, 1977 (No 148).

According to the Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013) section 65(4) every employee is entitled to just, equitable and satisfactory conditions of work and section 72 (a) state that every person has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being.

Environmental Management Act, (Chapter 20:27) also prescribe that every worker has a right to work in an environment that does not endanger his or her safety.

In Zimbabwe issues of Safety, Health and Environmental Management are mainly regulated by the Factories and Works Act (20 of 1948), the Labour Act (16 of 1985), and the National Social Security Authority (Accident Prevention and Workers Compensation Scheme) Notice No. 68 of 1990.
There is also industry-specific legislation which regulate Occupational Safety and Health in particular industries. These include the Hazardous Substances and Articles Act (78 of 1971), the Pneumoconiosis Act (13 of 1971) and the Mines and Minerals Act, Chapter 21:05.

The designing and emphasis on the implementation of such legislation, regulations, standards and procedure defines the value of Safety, Health and Environmental Management in all industries.

Workplace Safety and Health procedures are important for the well-being of both employees and employers because human loss is immeasurable and intolerable. Such loss or injuries cause major loss to the organisation and families.

Preventing accidents and potential death to employees is a natural priority. People must always be safe. An appropriate application of Safety, Health and Environmental Management practices minimise legal liabilities.

Standard operational procedures must be adhered to and employees must be properly trained on safety and health protocols. Injuries increase the basic costs in paying employee who will be not at work and for hiring another person to replace the injured employee temporarily.

In some industries such as construction or manufacturing, an injury might result in the shutdown of the entire operation until an investigation is conducted.

Workplace injuries and unsafe working environments reduce employee morale and this can negatively affect productivity. Organisations which maintain a safe and healthy work environment and regularly conduct employee training on safety create a stronger relationship with their employees. This develops loyalty and increases employee morale which result in a positive correlation to productivity.

Positive employee morale increases positive customer interactions, which leads to customer retention and loyalty. Good Safety, Health and Environmental Management practices improves public image of the organisation.

The top Management in all sectors must understand that a safe workplace and healthy employee is a key component in developing a positive corporate culture, it helps to improve productivity and quality of the products.

Mr Karidza is a holder of an MSc in Safety, Health and Environmental Management and a BSc Hons in Geography and Environmental Studies.


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