CTI Senior Leaders and Members discuss pertinent issues with OSHA Management
The Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) held a meeting with OSHA Management on 28th May 2020. The purpose of the meeting was to share with OSHA the challenges facing CTI members in the course of meeting OSHA’s requirements and exchanges views on how best to sort them out.
CTI was represented by the Executive Director of CTI, Mr. Leodegar Tenga, accompanied by CTI members and Secretariat staff, while OSHA was represented by the CEO, Ms. Khadija Mwenda, accompanied by OSHA Directors. The list of CTI participants is attached as Appendix 1.
The CTI Executive Director thanked OSHA for accepting to meet with CTI and underlined the fact that such consultative meetings were crucial in ensuring compliance with OSHA’s requirements. On her part, the OSHA CEO expressed appreciation to CTI for seeking a meeting with OSHA to discuss matters of mutual interest.
2.0 OSHA Presentations
Before engaging in deliberations, OSHA made four (4) presentations that covered the different aspects of OSHA as follows:
2.1 The role of OSHA
Highlighted the role of OSHA as an organization which oversees the health and safety conditions currently prevailing in our industries. The surveys conducted revealed that the mortality rate and the number of accidents in Tanzania industries have increased, which calls for industries to take the matter of protecting the health and safety of workers very seriously.
2.2 Risk Assessment Reports
Highlighted the importance of companies to conduct risk assessment of their facilities. Many companies do not have Risk Assessment Reports on the basis of which OSHA would carry out assessments of the respective entities. This has led to most companies ending up paying high inspection fees because OSHA is forced to assess each and every aspect of the companies, something that could have been avoided if they had Risk Assessment Reports. The Risk Assessment Reports provide baseline information for OSHA to conduct inspections.
2.3 Medical Doctor Examinations
Showed that doctors that OSHA uses to conduct medical examinations of workers differ from the ones used in general hospitals since theirs are specialized in occupational health and safety. OSHA medical examinations focus on occupational health hazards.
2.4 “Vision Zero” is the Way to Go
The presentation introduces “Vision Zero”. This is a global campaign to prevent accidents through the establishment of systems that help to avoid the occurrence of accidents. Industries are now encouraged to volunteer to register for the vision zero campaign. Once one joins the campaign, OSHA guides them on how to implement it. The system can reduce Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) costs significantly to companies.
NB: The presentations are attached as Appendix 2
3.0 CTI PRESENTATION OF CHALLENGES
After OSHA’s presentations, CTI presented the major challenges facing its members in implementing OSHA directives and proposed solutions as follows:
3.1 Fees charged by OSHA for carrying out different assessments/investigations/examinations are very high and most of the time unjustified. This results in increased cost of production and renders Tanzanian Manufacturers uncompetitive in the regional markets. Examples abound of companies that have been charged unreasonable fees by OSHA, as corroborated by CTI members’ claims.
3.2 The penalty of 5% compounded interest per day charged for delaying to honour the invoice raised by OSHA beyond 30 days is outrageously high. Again, this adds to the cost of production and has the effect of reducing the competitiveness of local manufacturers. It is proposed that the penalty should be pegged to BOT interest rates.
3.3 Most of the time OSHA officials visiting industries for conducting inspections are unfriendly and impolite in approach. As such, there is little or no constructive dialogue between them and their hosts. The inspections should also be geared at providing a platform for the exchange of views between the parties (OSHA and Company officials) with a view to improving the prevailing conditions.
3.4 Some companies have experienced undue delays in securing their certificates of compliance after undergoing inspections. OSHA is urged to expedite the processing of certificates and consider issuing long-term certificates of say 3 years instead of 1 year as is the case at present.
3.5 Some companies have own qualified doctors. OSHA is requested to certify and allow them to conduct the required medical examinations for company employees in order to reduce costs.
4.0 OSHA RESPONSE:
OSHA responded to the issues raised by CTI by explaining measures that are being undertaken to remedy the situation as follows:
4.1 On high fees: Complaints on the fees have been noted. While most of the fees charged are below market rates, OSHA is currently in the process of re-examining the fees and guidelines for the assessment of workplaces with the aim of reducing compliance costs.
4.2 On 5% compounded interest per day penalty: The provision on the penalty of 5% per day, gives the opportunity for the aggrieved party to appeal within 30 days of notice. The 5% charge ceases to apply once the appeal is lodged. Companies are urged to adhere and comply with the regulations. In addition, OSHA would consider reviewing the penalty as requested.
4.3 On the poor attitude of OSHA officials: OSHA officials are required to exhibit diligence and respect in executing their duties. The management of OSHA undertakes to groom their staff to adhere to good conduct and urge, entities to report to OSHA should there be a case of misconduct and/or unethical behaviour by their staff. On the other hand, OSHA requests entities to also do likewise – accord OSHA staff with the necessary cooperation and respect. There have been repeated cases where OSHA officials were denied access to the premises or some areas of the premises. Denying OSHA officials access to any part of the premises is going against the regulations. OSHA is legally entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the occupational safety of workers.
4.4 On delayed issuing of Certificates of Compliance: From 1st July 2020, OSHA will start using an IT system for companies to conduct OHS self-assessment. The system is also going to print the certificates of compliance. This will eliminate the need for physical visits to conduct inspections and expedite the issuance of the certificates.
4.5 On accreditation of medical personnel: OSHA is currently working on guidelines for accreditation of medical personnel with the objective of increasing the number of certified medical personnel to meet occupational health and safety demands.
5.0 WAY FORWARD
In the end, it was agreed that:
5.1 OSHA and CTI would continue working closely in creating the awareness of occupational health and safety requirements within CTI members and the manufacturing sector in general.
5.2 CTI would sensitize its members to adhere to the laid down occupational health and safety regulations and conduct Risk Assessment of the facilities.
5.3 OSHA would provide the necessary training and support to manufactures on how to prepare Risk Assessment Reports.
5.4 OSHA and CTI would continue holding regular consultations on issues facing industries relating to implementing OSHA requirements as and when they arise for the good of industries and the economy at large.
5.5 OSHA would expedite the ongoing excise of reviewing its operation procedures and fees in order to enhance its efficiency and reduce compliance costs.