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JAMHURI YA MUUNGANO WA TANZANIA

WAKALA WA USALAMA NA AFYA MAHALI PA KAZI

Usalama na Afya

INTRODUCTION

The overall objective of the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) is to oversee workplace safety and health in Tanzania Mainland. The organisation has two main sections, one to oversee the safety component and the other to oversee and manage the health component. However, the two sections implement one another as they both aim at improving the safety of the workplace and working processes and the health of employees while at work.

THE SAFETY SECTION

This section is responsible for supervising all mechanisms instituted at the workplace for preventing occupational accidents and diseases. The said mechanisms are considered to be national standards and have been provided in the law governing Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 2003 and international standards as provided by the International Labour Organisation (ILO-OSH 2001). The section is headed by the Safety Manager supported by OSH Inspectors (comprising experts in all branches of engineering and environmental experts) who report to him. 

The following are specific aspects which have been highlighted as important mechanisms in ensuring the safety and health of workers while discharging their day to day duties at the workplace:

Areas of Compliance

Notes:

  1. Employers are advised to inquire about industry-specific regulations prior to inspection.
  2. Employers have rights during the inspection process. If an employer or their representative feels a violation was noted in error, they may contest the citation. For details and procedures on inspection procedures  go to………[insert link]

General compliance:

The following are general areas of compliance to prevent accidents, injuries or illness to employees:-

OSHA requires employers to provide PPE as a last resort after other protective measures have been put in place. PPE include items like hard hats, face shields, safety glasses, appropriate footwear e.g. gum boots, vests, gloves, earplugs, and others, depending on the type of activity/job in question. Employees must be given instructions and training on the proper use of PPE and the importance of wearing protective gear every time they are in a hazardous area or doing hazardous tasks.

Certain machinery and equipment, such as saws, shears, slicers and other such equipment can cause injuries to workers. So both employers and operators of those types of machinery or equipment need to take care to prevent potential injuries. Employers can prevent injuries by installing guards that prevent close physical contact with the machine or equipment and employees operating such machinery and equipment can prevent injuries by adhering to the safety guides and precautions.

When a machine or equipment malfunctions or breaks down it can cause injuries to the personnel who come to repair/ fix it. Employers must ensure that they have in place a system that ensures that power to the machinery or equipment is immediately cut in the event of a malfunction.

Employers need to ensure protection from electrical hazards to employees, such as burns or electrocution by making sure equipment is installed in a way that minimizes employee exposure to open live wires as well as limit the presence of wet surfaces near electrical sources.

This is important for duties performed in areas with inadequate ventilation or oxygen flow, smoky and dusty areas and areas where noxious sprays and substances are used, e.g. during vehicle spraying and/or painting. However, the respirators need to be properly sized and used every time of potential exposure.

Protection against noise is important in preventing noise-related hearing loss which is a common type of work-related injury. Exposure to very loud noises (more than 85 decibels) can cause permanent hearing damage. OSHA requires that employers install and/or provide the necessary protective measures such as sound-reducing earplugs and provide regular hearing tests for employees who face regular exposure to noise.

Protection against blood-borne pathogen is necessary for workers who are exposed to blood or other bodily fluids that contain the risk of developing diseases that are carried in human blood including the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Employees must be reminded to avoid touching blood and bodily fluids without protective gear (gloves).

This is particularly applicable in construction and mining sectors where powered industrial trucks such as forklifts or lift trucks are used. Injuries can occur due to falling load and other hazards. Employers must make sure that all operators of powered industrial trucks are trained in safe operating procedures and are in operating the said trucks to avoid accidents that can happen from their use.

Other Areas of Compliance:

The following are general areas of compliance to prevent accidents, injuries or illness to employees:-

OSHA requires employers to implement training programs to help protect employees from dangers at the workplace. Training is the only sure way to ensure that employees know what to do to prevent accidents, injuries and illnesses; how to protect themselves and others and how to report a breach of standards by the employer. OSHA offers a wide variety of mandatory training modules as provided in the Section on Training [insert link to the training section]. In addition, employers can request specific training for areas that they feel they need further assistance from OSHA.

Employers need to realize that safe and healthy working conditions are paramount to the security of their business and can enhance productivity. OSHA encourages employers to improve worker health and safety and grants them assistance in becoming OSHA compliant, by providing standards, training and inspection to help them develop and implement programs that ensure their employees’ safety while at work.