Employment Assistant Minister Opens 2022 …FijiFirst
Assistant Minister for Employment, Productivity, and Industrial Relations, and Youth and Sports, Alvick Maharaj, opened the 2022 World Day for Safety and Health at Work (WDSHW) celebration in the Northern Division today.
This year’s celebration focuses on the theme “Act Together to Build a Positive Safety and Health Culture”.
Assistant Minister Maharaj, in his statement, highlighted that according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) WDSHW 2022 report, around 2.9 million workers die every year due to occupational accidents and diseases and at least 402 million people suffer from non-fatal occupational injuries.
“The report also highlighted that occupational accidents and diseases are estimated to contribute to 5.4 per cent of annual global gross domestic product (GDP) lost,” said Maharaj.
Assistant Minister Maharaj pointed out that the spread of COVID-19 caught everyone by surprise, including Fiji.
“I wish to commend the quick response taken by the Fijian Government including the Employment Ministry to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community and at the workplaces,” said Mr Maharaj.
“I also commend all those employers that have assisted towards Government’s war against COVID-19 through the implementation of COVID-19 guidelines in the workplace, provision of medical supplies, sanitisers, personal protective equipment (PPEs), food, and water etc.”
The pandemic has been a time of promoting and raising awareness on the importance of having a positive safety and health culture at the workplace and this includes the conduct of nationwide workplace awareness, audits, and monitoring of the operations of workplaces to ensure robust compliance of COVID-19 protocols are implemented on the ground during the pandemic.
In strengthening COVID-19 protocols and minimising transmission in the workplace, the Fijian Government enacted the Health and Safety at Work (General Workplace Conditions) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 to make mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 for entry into work premises for employers and workers.
This resulted in the conduct of 17,070 workplaces COVID-19 compliance audits both in the formal and formal sector and noted 99.75% of the total workplace audited were vaccinated for the first dose of COVID-19 vaccination and 99.72% were fully vaccinated by 30 November 2021.
Assistant Minister Maharaj praised the strong collaboration between its tripartite partners, government ministries and key stakeholders for rising to the required standard in protecting Fiji’s workplaces as well as our workers.
He added that this has enabled the nation to maintain a healthy and safe workplace in minimising the COVID-19 transmission including work-related injuries and deaths.
The Northern Division celebration was attended by 60 participants who are from multi-sectoral industries including our tripartite partners (Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation, Fiji Trades Union Congress, and Government Ministries).
The celebration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work will conclude with the launch of the 5 Year (2020-2024) Occupational Health Services Strategy of Fiji on 28 April 2022 in the Western Division.