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Discussion on Occupational Safety and Health Policy

Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) protects and improves the health and safety of working men and women in working environment. Regarding work place safety ILO estimates that worldwide 2.3 million workers die annually from occupational accidents, 160 million suffer from work-related diseases and 313 million sustain non-fatal injuries per year. Approximately 60% of the world’s labor force is ineffectively protected against these work-related incidents. The economic consequences are significant: it is estimated that the world loses more than four per cent of annual GDP as a consequence of work-related injuries and diseases.

Although OSH regulatory and policy framework is in place in Ethiopia, the implementation and evaluation of the regulation in the country is still under a question mark. With the current massive investment in the installation or extension of industrial parks, it becomes an important topic to come to light. OSH is in the focus of the international world as well as the government of Ethiopia and FES are working closely with the respective bodies to contribute to this agenda.

The Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung invited to a discussion on the implementation on OSH in Eastern Ethiopia at the end of August 2017. The venue, Diredawa, has traditionally been a center of industrial production where currently one of the biggest industrial parks in Ethiopia is built.

About 40 trade union leaders from Diredawa and surrounding regions took part in the intense experience sharing. Besides OSH, the importance of an ongoing tripartite dialogue between the government, employers and CETU was discussed to ensure a better economic production, harmonized working environment and industrial peace in Ethiopia.