Gov’t tables bill to cater for health and safety in all workplaces

Gov’t tables bill to cater for health and safety in all workplaces
Parliament sitting.

The Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Betty Amongi has tabled Bill to amend the 2006 Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Titled; “Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment) Bill, 2023”, the bill intends to cater for health and safety in all workplaces, removing inconsistencies in the principal act as well as streamlining the power of the Minister to make regulations.

Tabling the bill during the Tuesday plenary, Amongi noted that since the principal act’s enactment in 2006, there has been a significant change in the workplace such as teleworking, virtual jobs, outsourcing and subcontracting of labour that the new law intends to cater for.

She said that the new law will, therefore, address the rapidly evolving sectors such as telecommunication and extractive industry.

Amongi further argued that the existing law considers workplaces to have a large workforce, however, the increased automation of work has drastically reduced the number of workers required in certain work activities, thereby creating new safety and health challenges.

“Clause 4 seeks to amend section 14 by repealing the words "who has at least twenty employees at a workplace”, to require all employers regardless of the number of employees to put in place health and safety measures of the employees at a workplace,” said Amongi.

If the Bill is amended, she says an employer will be required to establish a committee to develop and implement occupational safety and health workplace policy.

The employer will also be required put in place measures to prevent exposure of persons to noise, dust, vibration and other hazards and to monitor the noise, dust, vibration and other hazards in the workplace as recommended by a risk assessment report.

The Bill also provides for litigation procedures in regard to occupational safety and health challenges.

“Clause 2 seeks to replace section 9 to empower an inspector to institute before a court any charge, information, complaint or other proceeding arising under this Act, or in the discharge of his or her duty, in consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions,” reads the Bill.

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