HAN drafts health and safety policy

28 Oct 2014 13:40pm
WINDHOEK, 28 OCT (NAMPA) – The Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) has drafted an occupational health and safety policy for the tourism hospitality sector.
The policy was drawn up with the technical support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Government, according to a media statement issued by HAN and the Namibian Employers’ Federation (NEF) on Monday.
“Work in Namibia seems neither too safe, nor healthy, and the integrated policy on workplace health and safety presented to HAN and NEF thus focuses on four key objectives: to prevent occupational diseases and improve overall employee health; to reduce non-fatal (and fatal) occupational injuries; to increase employee productivity and job satisfaction; and to minimise the employer’s health care expenditures,” it noted.
According to the statement, this integrated blueprint policy for the hospitality sector covers all the sector’s health and safety needs at the workplace, outlining the commitment and action on occupational safety and health. It also covers the prevention and management of HIV and other infectious and chronic diseases impacting on the hospitality industry.
During a survey conducted by GIZ consultants in February and June this year, it emerged that the number of occupational accidents is disproportionally high in Namibia compared to other countries with a similar economic status. It highlighted that Namibia is also one of those countries highly affected by infectious and non-communicable diseases. The infection rate of HIV remains at a high 13.3 per cent among the Namibian working population (UNAIDS, 2012).
Diseases of the heart, arteries and veins, diabetes and cancer are the most frequent chronic diseases; while lifestyle related risk factors – particularly being overweight and obesity, high blood pressure and blood sugar, as well as alcohol and tobacco consumption impact on all economic sectors.
Occupational diseases like occupational dermatitis or musculoskeletal disorders are neither diagnosed nor prevented.
The 2014 questionnaire survey among member companies of HAN showed that only about half of all respondents have an occupational health and safety policy in place and even less have formulated an HIV policy or conduct health promotions. More than 40 per cent of the respondent hotel managers admitted to not being familiar with the government’s regulations with regards to workplace health and safety protection, according to the statement.