Press Statement on the Compliance With the Occupational Safety and Health Act

Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development
Press Statement
On the
Compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, No. 9 of 2006
“Plant Examination and Workplace Registration in line with The Occupational Safety and Health (Plant Examination and Workplace Registration Fees) Regulation, 2014”
“Approval of Architectural Plans/Drawings of New Workplaces and Alteration of Existing Ones”
February 2015


1.    The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is mandated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, No. 9 of 2006 to ensure that all public and private workplaces adhere to safety and health measures.

Some of the Safety Measures at Workplaces include;
i.    A written  Safety and Health  Policy
ii.    Risk Assessment and Management Plan (used for monitoring purposes)
iii.    Ongoing Workplace Safety and Health Programme
•    Training
•    Instructions and Procedures
•    Clear Supervision (organogram)
iv.    Machine Guarding,
v.    Chemical Safety management systems (during handling, use and storage)
vi.    Proper Electrical Safety
vii.    Monitoring system of exposure limits (like noise levels, temperature, light, air quality, radiation, vibration and humidity, among others).
viii.    PWD Access and related amenities (Ramps, Toilets, Lifts etc)
ix.    Stand-by Generator - Automatic Change Over preferably 2-5 seconds and emergency lights
x.    Proper Signage’s (Informative, Prohibitive, Precaution and Mandatory)
xi.    House Keeping – Cleanliness, Orderliness, Sequence Of Flow
xii.    Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan
•    Emergency Contacts Display
•    Emergency  routes
•    Trained Emergency Rescue Team(s) (swimming pool,  fire , etc)
•     Fire Assembly  Points
•    Guest Emergency Response Information
•    Ambulance System
xiii.    Waste Management: Waste Segregation, storage, reuse and disposal systems
xiv.    Fire Safety Systems
•    Fire Prevention Systems
    Fail Safe  mechanisms
    Fire Retardancy characteristics  

•    Fire Detection Systems
    Smoke detectors
    Alarm Systems
    Break glass panels
    Control panel
•    Fire Protection Systems
    Automatic Fire Sprinkler system
    Fire extinguishers
    Hydrant  points /ring
    Hose reel system  
xv.    Personal Protective Equipment (helmets, gloves, goggles, gumboots, e.t.c),

Some of the Workplace Health Measures include;
i.    Provision of First Aid  Services,
ii.    Presence of workplace Integrated Health Promotion Policies (Stress, Tobacco Use and Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke, Drugs and Alcohol, Violence,  HIV and AIDS , Nutrition, Physical Activity, Healthy Sleep, Economic Stress)
iii.    Pre-employment, Periodic and Post Employment Medical Examination
iv.    Provision of appropriate welfare amenities (e.g toilets, washrooms, meal areas, wholesome drinking water,)
v.    Food Safety and Hygiene
•    Handling and Storage Systems
•    Systems  for Monitoring food supplies from  the source
•    Food processing (Medical Certification of Food Handlers)
•    Cleanliness of kitchen and housekeeping
•    Food Safety Policy
vi.    HIV at Work Policy which includes HIV& AIDS prevention, care and support and treatment, among others.

2.    Note that the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2006, Section 40 requires the Commissioner for Occupational Safety and Health to keep a register of all workplaces in the Country and pursuant to this, Section 41 requires that a fee be paid before a workplace is registered. I am happy to inform you some of the Enterprises/Organisations that have complied with aforesaid the Provision;
a)    Oil palm Uganda Ltd -Kalangala
b)    Monitor Publications Ltd
c)    Kakira Sugar Works Ltd
d)    Bidco Uganda Limited
e)    London Distillers (U)Ltd
f)    Office of the Prime Minister
g)    Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development
h)    Hina General Merchandise
i)    Petro Uganda Ltd-Depot
j)    Zenitaka-Hyundai Joint Venture
k)    The New Forest Company
l)    Sinohydro Corporation Limited
m)    Total Uganda Ltd
n)    Speke Resort Munyonyo and Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort
o)    Standard Chartered Bank
p)    Housing Finance Bank
q)    Equity Bank
r)    Etc (I will publish in Newspapers the List of Compliant Companies/Organisations)

Sections 69-82 of the Act also requires a fee to be paid for examination and certification of statutory plants and equipment like
a)    Steam boilers,
b)    Air receivers,
c)    Gas receivers,
d)    Mobile cranes,
e)    Tower cranes,
f)    Power generators,
g)    Overhead cranes,
h)    Lifting chains,
i)    Shackles and
j)    Lifts, among others.

The aforesaid Sections in the Act are being operationalised by the Occupational Safety and Health (Plant Examination and Workplace Registration Fees) Regulation, 2014 that spells out the amount of fees to be paid by individual workplaces depending on the nature of work, nature and type of chemicals being used, nature and type of emissions or the number of workers they are employing. The same regulation spells out the amount of fees to be paid by organizations/proprietors in possession of plants and equipment earlier mentioned above.

Similarly, Section 42 requires the Commissioner for Occupational Safety and Health to approve architectural drawings of a new workplace and / or any alteration of an existing workplace before construction. The law further requires buildings at workplaces to be of sound construction.

3.    Even when the architectural drawings are approved by local authorities, various safety and health measures that ought to be incorporated during the design of the drawings are sometimes ignored rendering the buildings to be hazardous. Many commercial and public buildings have been found with minimum and no sound occupational safety and health measures like;
a)    Inaccessibility by Persons with Disability (PWDs),
b)    Staircases/corridors are below minimum standard requirements,
c)    Inadequate ventilation
d)    Poor design of the sewerage line systems
e)    Inadequate and / or no packing areas, among others.

4.    However, due to non-existence of safety and health measures, there have been rampant occupational accidents and work related diseases at various work places namely;

a)    Fire Outbreaks: 2015; Haruma Towers, 2014; Olam Uganda Limited, Namanve, 2013, 2011, 2009; St. Balikuddembe Market. All these fires have destroyed property worth billions of Uganda shillings.

b)    Ebola Outbreaks: 2000/2001; in Gulu, 23 medical workers died with Dr Lukwiya being at the forefront. 2007; in Bundibugyo 5 health workers including Dr. Jonah Kule died. In 2012 in Kagadi Ms.Clare Muhumuza died.

c)    Marburg Hemorrhagic feve: Sept 30th 2014; a radiographer at Mengo Hospital died while 38 health workers were suspected to have contracted the disease.

d)    Aug 201: Collapse of building under construction at Kasanga Church Zone, in which a female house maid suffered multiple body injuries due to flying debris

e)    March 2009: Mirembe Shopping Arcade caved in after an excavation, 2 people died and at least 20 others sustained severe injuries.

f)    2009: 4 Casual labourers of Abu Construction Company, working on Aya Hotel died and 11 others sustained serious injuries when a cable of a pulley system they were using disintegrated.

g)    2009: 7 People died and 2 workers were injured when a retaining wall collapsed at a National Social Security Fund building in Kampala.

h)    Jan, 2008: 3 Workers died when a building housing Mini Price Bata on Ben Kiwanuka Street collapsed.

i)    Jan, 2008: 11 Workers died when an unfinished building at St Peters Secondary School Naalya, collapsed.

The above represent the tip of the iceberg! Other accidents have occurred in industries where workers have gotten injured while others have died in the course of work. Due to chemical usage in agriculture and manufacturing industries, workers are continuously exposed to cancerous/toxic chemicals that are dangerous to their health.

5.    When the Act is fully implemented it is expected that workplaces will not only be safe and healthy in accordance with the law, but the process will generate considerable amount of revenue to the Consolidated Fund. The implementation of this Law has great benefits, which among others, include;

i.    Approximately UGX 150 billion could be collected annually to the Consolidated Fund through workplace registration and plant and equipment examination and certification

ii.    Creation of 200,000 jobs mainly scientists to oversee, safety, health and quality management issues at workplaces. Note that during the workplace registration assessment, each workplace/enterprise among other criteria is assessed to establish whether it qualifies to employ a safety and health officer. This means that if all workplaces in the country are registered and enterprises sensitized about this best practice, new jobs could be generated moreover for scientists who could also help the owners of businesses in reduction of counterfeit products/services being produced.

iii.    This Law focuses on the prevention of diseases, illness and injuries in workplaces and ensuring a good working environment. This means that once diseases, illness and injuries are prevented, less people will be seeking health services hence less government expenditure on  preventable illnesses/injuries. The Law requires that the occupational incidents, accidents and diseases should be reported to the Commissioner Occupational Safety and Health to ensure that investigations are conducted and technical advice is given to prevent re-occurrences or loss of property and financial resources.

iv.    The adequacy occupational safety and health management systems will boost productivity and competitiveness of enterprises as there will be less accidents and diseases that contribute to lost time at work among others.

6.    It’s interesting to note that despite all the efforts by Government to create awareness on the need to comply with the Law, some stubborn enterprises/companies/organisations have adamantly refused to comply.

7.    This is therefore the LAST REMINDER to ALL Enterprises/Organisations that have not adhered to the requirements of this Law particularly on;
a)    Registration of Workplace by the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development
b)    Plant and Equipment Examination & Certification  
c)    Approval of Architectural Plans/Drawings of New Workplaces and Alteration of Existing Ones”

Come, 28th February 2015, if you have not complied with the law, the Ministry will be left with No option on Non-Compliant Enterprises but to enforce the law as it’s prescribed including prosecution and/ or closing off the enterprises.

Mary Karooro Okurut (MP)
Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development
Simbamanyo House, Plot 1 Lumumba Avenue
P.O. Box 7136