STRUCTURE & CORE FUNCTIONS

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY - FAQ's

What is a Factory?
Factory drawing plans
How do I Register my Factory?
Where do I Appeal in the event that my applications for approval of factory drawing plans and Registration of a factory are rejected?
What written notices are required to be submitted to the Department?
What machinery or plant should be Tested and Examined by the Department?
What should I do in case of an occupational accident or dangerous occurrence?
Duties of Medical Practitioners.
What Records, Registers and Posters should be kept by an Employer?
General Duties of an Employer
Duties of an Employed person
What action may be taken in case of a very dangerous working environment?
What circumstances may compel the Department to commence legal action in the Courts of Law?
Relationship with Workers and Employers’ organizations
How can one get data/information on occupational safety and health in Zambia?
What Is Occupational Health And Safety?
Why Is Occupational Health And Safety Important?
Potential benefits from linking health and safety to productivity;
Costs of Occupational Injury/Disease

 

What is a Factory

Factory as defined in section 2 of the Factories Act means any premises in which person are employed in manual labour  in any process for or incidental to the following;-

  • - The making or assembling of any article or of part of any article
  • - The altering, repairing or assembling of any article or of part of any article
  • - The adapting for sale of any article

 

 In addition, Building operations and works of engineering construction which are specified in section 3 become “factories” to which specified parts and sections of    the Factories Act will apply.

 

Factory drawing plans

Drawings of all new factory buildings, building being converted as factories and extensions are to be submitted to the commissioner with details of prescribed particulars, i.e. nature of processes to be carried out in the factory, numbers employed e.t.c. The commissioner may approve the drawings, or he may refuse to do so, in which case he/she must state the reasons in writing.{ particulars to be supplied with, or to be shown on, drawings (i.e. plans and sections)}

 

How do I Register my Factory?

Before any person occupies or uses any premises as a factory which were not    occupied or used by him, he/she must apply for registration giving the prescribed particulars. The commissioner may issue a certificate of registration, or if he/she is not satisfied that the premises are suitable he may refuse registration, sating in writing the reasons for such refusal. (Application for Registration of a Factory)

 

Where do I Appeal in the event that my applications for approval of factory drawing plans and Registration of a factory are rejected?

Any person may appeal in writing to the Appeals Board (established under section16) against the decision of the Commissioner if he/ she refuses to register a        factory under section 13 or if he/she refuses to approve drawings submitted under section 15.

      The Board may: -

  • Confirm, vary or reverse the Commissioner’s decision on which the appeal was founded,
  • Not award costs unless it considers that the commissioner’s decision was unreasonable or the grounds of appeal are frivolous.

Any decision by the Board under part IV of the Factories Act will be final and        may not be challenged in any other court.

 

 

What machinery or plant should be Tested and Examined by the Department?

 

No person shall put to use any pressure vessel or lifting machinery unless it has been examined and tested by an inspector from the Department.

For the purposes of the Factories Act,

Pressure Vessels include steam boilers, steam receivers and air receivers

 

Lifting machinery include hoists, lifts, lifts for carrying persons, chains, ropes, lifting tackle and cranes.( regulation 58 of the construction (safety and health) regulations-register of hoist, lifting machines and lifting tackle)

 

What should I do in case of an occupational accident or dangerous occurrence?

 
Where an accident occurs in a factory which either causes death or disables any person for three or more days, the employer shall send a written notice to an inspector.

Dangerous occurrences as listed on the first schedule to the Factories Act will be reported on the same prescribed form as used for ordinary occupational accidents. (Prescribed form of written notice of accident or dangerous occurrence in factory) or
(form of report on industrial disease to be sent by occupier of factory to an Inspector of factories)

 

Duties of Medical Practitioners.

 

Any Medical practitioner attending to a patient whom he believes to be suffering from any industrial diseases as listed in the second schedule to the Act, will be required to report the matter to an inspector.  Any doctor who fails to submit any such report is liable to a fine.

 

What Records, Registers and Posters should be kept by an Employer?

 

  • Certificate of Registration of a Factory,
  • General register for Factories

 

  • Register of Chains, ropes, Lifting tackle and other lifting machines
  • Abstract of the Act Poster (Abstract of the Act)

 

  • Treatment for electric shock poster
  • Boiler book

 

General Duties of an Employer

  • To ensure the whole establishment is safe for persons to work.
  • To provide personal protective equipment and clothing.
  • To provide competent persons to carry out specific tasks.
  • To provide supervision and training to workers.
  • To report industrial accidents to relevant authorities.

Duties of an Employed person

  • Not to willfully interfere with or misuse any means provided in pursuance of the Act for securing health, safety or welfare of the persons employed in such a factory, and to use anything provided by an employer for securing his/her health and safety,
  • Not to willfully do anything likely to endanger himself/herself or any other person.

What action may be taken in case of a very dangerous working environment?

The Chief Inspector of Factories has powers to close a factory or suspend work if he/she is of the opinion that any building, part of any building, machine, or practice in a factory is dangerous or defective so as to constitute a threat to the health or safety of any worker.
           

What circumstances may compel the Department to commence legal action in the Courts of Law?

  • Where inspectors have been intentionally obstructed to in the lawful course of their duties,
  • False information has been supplied willfully with the intention to deceive, in a relation to a matter that gives rise to significant risk,
  • Failure to comply with suspension of work or closure of a factory by a Chief Inspector of Factories,
  • Work carried out without a Certificate of Registration of a Factory
  • Operating pressure vessels and lifting machinery without appropriate certificate.
  • None reporting of occupational accidents and diseases,
  • Failure to comply with the recommendations of an inspector’s report that was subject to a formal warning,
  • Death as a result of breach of legislation.

Relationship with Workers and Employers’ organizations

The Department upholds the principle of Tripartism as guided by the International Labour Organization where Workers and Employers organizations fully  participate in all matters of occupational health and safety at international,  national and enterprise levels.

 

How can one get data/information on occupational safety and health in Zambia?

     
There is an information centre that is the custodian of all the necessary information on occupational health and safety.  The centre has study materials and up to date information on OSH at international, national and enterprise levels.

 

Contact Addresses:
The Director
Occupational Safety and Health Services Department
Ministry of Labour and Social Security
New Government Complex
Independence Avenue
P.O. Box 32186
LUSAKA

 

E-mail: mlss
Tel: +260 1 235874, 227382, 224249
Fax: +260 1 225169, +260 1 224902

The Principal Inspector of Factories
Occupational Safety and Health Services Department
Ministry of Labour and Social Security
P.O. Box …
NDOLA
Email: mlss …
Tel: 260 2 61 …

The Senior Inspector of Factories
Occupational Safety and Health Services Department
Ministry of Labour and Social Security
P.O. Box …
LIVINGSTONE
Tel: …

 

The Senior Inspector of Factories
Occupational Safety and Health Services Department
Ministry of Labour and Social Security
P.O. Box …
KABWE
Tel: …

 

OCCUPATIONAL, HEALTH AND SAFETY, AND BUSINESS
Healthy and safe workplaces are fundamental to achieving productive work and high quality working lives.  Internationally and in Zambia, organizations have starting considering health and safety as an essential ingredient to achieving world class performance, rather than a narrow issue about legal compliance.
Looking to the future, Zambian businesses can better understand the links between health and safety initiatives and productivity by improving performance measurement.

 

 What Is Occupational Health And Safety?

Occupational health and safety is a discipline with a broad scope involving many specialized fields. In its broadest sense, it should aim at:

  • - the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations;
  • - the prevention among workers of adverse effects on health caused by their working conditions;
  • - the protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to health;
  • - the placing and maintenance of workers in an occupational environment adapted to physical and mental needs;
  • - the adaptation of work to humans.

In other words, occupational health and safety encompasses the social, mental and physical well-being of workers that is the “whole person”.

 

Why Is Occupational Health And Safety Important?

Work plays a central role in people's lives, since most workers spend at least eight hours a day in the workplace, whether it is on a plantation or in factory, etc. Every day workers all over the world are faced with a multitude of health hazards, such as:

  • dusts;
  • gases;
  • noise;
  • vibration;
  • extreme temperatures;

 As a result of the hazards and a lack of attention given to health and safety, work-related accidents and diseases are common in all parts of the world.

 

Potential benefits from linking health and safety to productivity;

  • Fewer injuries mean that more people keep working
  • Designing safety into business is a source of increased innovation, improved quality and improved efficiencies
  • Safe workplaces enhance corporate reputations and improve staff recruitment and retention
  • fewer injuries help reduce compensation claims

Costs of Occupational Injury/Disease

Work-related accidents or diseases are very costly and can have many serious direct and indirect effects on the lives of workers and their families. For workers some of the direct costs of an injury or illness are:

  • - the pain and suffering of the injury or illness;
  • - the loss of income;
  • - the possible loss of a job;
  • - health-care costs.

An occupational illness or accident can have so many indirect costs to workers that it is often difficult to measure them. One of the most obvious indirect costs is the human suffering caused to workers' families, which cannot be compensated with money.
The costs to employers of occupational accidents or illnesses are also estimated to be enormous.  For employers, some of the direct costs are:

  • - payment for work not performed;
  • - medical and compensation payments;
  • - repair or replacement of damaged machinery and equipment;
  • - reduction or a temporary halt in production;
  • - increased training expenses and administration costs;
  • - possible reduction in the quality of work;
  • - negative effect on morale in other workers.

Some of the indirect costs for employers are:

  • - the injured/ill worker has to be replaced;
  • - a new worker has to be trained and given time to adjust;
  • - it takes time before the new worker is producing at the rate of the original worker;
  • - time must be devoted to obligatory investigations, to the writing of reports and filling out of forms;
  • - accidents often arouse the concern of fellow workers and influence labour relations in a negative way;
  • - poor health and safety conditions in the workplace can also result in poor public relations.

Overall, the costs of most work-related accidents or illnesses to workers and their families and to employers are very high.

 

1.4 Common Violations In Occupational Safety And Health

Violations can be described as a company failing to adhere to safety regulations. These violations can occur due to management or employees ignoring regulations, or failing to keep informed about current regulations.

Common violations seen by the Occupational Safety and Health Services Department include failing to provide Personal Protective Equipment  (PPE)and for some companies that had provided, the workers failing to wear the PPE.

  • Another violation commonly seen involves some companies who were cited for non- reporting of occupational accidents and their way of documenting employee injuries. By not keeping proper records, it would be hard to prescribe measures to prevent recurrences and also assess what areas needed safety improvements.
  • Some other common violation found in some workplaces are non provisions of first aid facilities, fire fighting appliances and failure by contractors to inform the Department whenever they commence construction works.
  • Using uncertified Lifting Equipment and Pressure Vessels

 

  • Non provision of adequate sanitary conveniences, Changing rooms and washing facilities for workers

 


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Ministry of Labour and Social Security, New Government Complex, Independence Avenue, P.O. Box 32186, Lusaka, Zambia. Tel: +260-211-221432, Fax: +260-211-225169, Web-Site: www.mlss.gov.zm, E-Mail: mlss@mlss.gov.zm

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