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Uganda: Minister tables Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment) Bill

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During the Tuesday, January 9, 2024 plenary meeting headed by Speaker Anita Among, the Minister for Gender, Labour, and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi, introduced the Bill to modify the 2006 Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The “Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment) Bill, 2023” aims to improve workplace health and safety by addressing inconsistencies in the main act and streamlining the Minister’s ability to enact regulations.

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Amongi stated in her reasoning that since the original act’s implementation in 2006, there has been a substantial shift in the workplace, such as teleworking, virtual jobs, outsourcing, and labor subcontracting, which the new legislation attempts to address.

As a result, the new legislation will handle fast growing industries such as telecommunications and the extractive industry.

Amongi went on to say that while current legislation requires companies to have a big workforce, rising automation of work has substantially decreased the number of humans necessary in particular job tasks, generating new safety and health issues.

“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.

She claims that if the Bill is altered, employers would be compelled to form a committee to design and enforce occupational safety and health workplace policies.

The employer will also be expected to implement steps to protect workers from noise, dust, vibration, and other hazards, as advised by a risk assessment study, and to monitor noise, dust, vibration, and other hazards in the workplace.

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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