Saturday, March 2, 2024

OHS WORKSHOP IN NIŠ

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At the workshop ‘Occupational Health and Safety’ which was held in the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of the City of Niš, it was stressed that for the past seven months 26 fatal injuries had been recorded. The workshop was organized by the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia under the auspices of the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center.
The fact is that in the fight for profit the world of capital undermines healthy living and working environment while this problem keeps getting more and more complicated. Zoran Mihajlović, CATUS Secretary pointed out that in Serbia the situation regarding workers’ protection was not at all bright.
„We do have a good law, but the problem is non-implementation, insufficient number of labour inspectors, their integration, as well as fines. Employers find it more profitable to pay fines than to respect regulations“, says Mihajlović.
He added that the biggest number of injuries and fatalities happened in construction.
“In the first half of the year there were more fatalities and serious injuries than last year. Of course, corona took its toll and last year many people worked on the ‘black market’. This led to even more injuries. We need to raise our voice and say this is not acceptable. Only a healthy worker can bring more profit “, says Mihajlović.
Olivera Bobić, President of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of the City of Niš said the fact was that employers saw the investment in occupational health and safety as an unnecessary expense. Even workers themselves didn’t realize the importance of this issue because they fought for bare existence.
„The City of Niš shouldn’t be envied when talking about this problem that COVID-19 pandemic made a lot more visible . At the beginning people were aware that protective measures weren’t taken and they were forced to take action themselves in order to point out the problem“, says Olivera Bobić. She also sees that the problem lies in the non-implementation of the law.
„Fines for disrespecting measures exist and at a certain point throughout the inspection they are delivered, charges are pressed and they usually either get outdated or end up with fines below legal minimum, which isn’t effective at all. This won’t surely scare off the employers. When we begin taking prescribed punitive measures, although this isn’t aimed at putting business at risk, workers will be more protected “, says Bobić.
Professor Jovica Jovanović, Ph.D. from the Faculty of Medicine, Assistant to the Director of the Institute of Occupational Safety, pointed out that there was an increasing number of employers’ complaints to sick leaves. Regarding professional diseases, vibration disease, then locomotor system diseases, respiratory diseases, bronchial asthma are at the top position. In case of disability pension, it is usually required by those suffering from malign and cardiovascular diseases.

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