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Workers’ health highlighted

Ntsoaki Motaung

Minister of Labour and Employment Moshe Leoma inaugurated the National Advisory Council for Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) in Maseru this week.

Speaking at the event on July 07, 2021, Leoma stressed the importance of knowing that the National Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health is the statutory tripartite body established under Section 46 of the Labour Code Order 1992.

“It is entrusted to give advice and assistance to the Minister of Labour and Employment and the National Advisory Committee on Labour (NACOLA) in respect of matters affecting the safety, health and welfare of persons at work, or any other persons whose safety, health and welfare may be affected by work activities.

“I wish to take this opportunity in encouraging the incoming members to take the baton from the old Council and continue the work that was left and implement it with the same enthusiasm in ensuring safety, health and welfare in all sectors,” he said.

He also indicated that the NACOSH is also entrusted to review and advise the Minister and NACOLA on the operation of any legislation or regulations relating to employees’ health, safety and welfare at work. 

“In a further endeavor, to promote a safety culture and as a sign of political will, the following ILO Conventions have been ratified by Lesotho; Convention no.155 on Occupational Safety and Health and Working Conditions; and Convention no.167 on Safety and Health in Construction; this was achieved following scrutiny and recommendation to the government by NACOSH through National Advisory Committee on Labour (NACOLA),” he said.

He indicated that it may be recalled that Occupational Safety and Health is a field that is aimed at the prevention of accidents and ill-health, protection of employers and workers as well as assurance of their welfare.

“I wish to remind you that workplace accidents do not only cause physical and emotional suffering but also have a negative impact in the economy of the country,” he said.

“To achieve our objective of prevention and protection, we are supposed to carry out Occupational Safety and Health activities or events to raise awareness on its importance. If done effectively this awareness raising can contribute to combating a number of unwarranted work related health diseases and show decrease in work related injuries. Most importantly, we need to promote a safety culture whereby everyone in the workplace is expected to have a stake in Occupational Safety and Health through well-defined OSH strategies and management systems,” he said. 

Meanwhile, speaking on the behalf of the worker’s Koali Koali from the Lesotho Labour Council acknowledged the Ministry of Labour and Employment for seeing the need to inaugurate the Committee.

“The committee is of importance to the Ministry because its work is to advice the Minister on issues around the safety and health of workers,” he said.

He indicated that workers face challenges that include sexual harassment at work and committee works in solving such cases.

“We promise to work hand-in-hand with the Ministry to achieve goals and plans as well as ensuring that the law is obeyed on the working environment,” he said.

Meanwhile Hlalele Tšolo from the Association of Lesotho Employers and Businesses, indicated that as employers, they appreciate being tasked with important obligations of assisting and advising the minister on issues that affect the health and safety of persons at work, as well as others whose health, safety and welfare may be affected by work related activities.

“It is at the great period at which this council is being inaugurated, and mandated to commence its functions, where Covid-19 is in the forefront in affecting employees and putting a strain on both the business industry and the economy of the county at large. This therefore calls for clear guidelines which should be implemented in the place of work, so that we maintain safe working conditions and environment at all times,” he said.

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