Statement on the Crest Foam Factory Fire Top story

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In short
Preliminary findings are that Crest foam factory is not registered with the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development contrary to S.40 and 41 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, No. 9 of 2006.

BRIEF ON THE FIRE OUTBREAK AT CREST FOAM FACTORY, NTINDA, KAMPALA, 10 MARCH 2015 BY DEPARTMENT OF OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH, MINISTRY OF GENDER, LABOUR AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
 
 
1. Yesterday Monday, 9th March 2015 at 9:30am fire gutted a factory of mattresses in Ntinda, Strecher Road, where lives were lost and property destroyed. This is unfortunate incident the nature of which could have been prevented if the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2006 was being followed at the Factory.
 
 
2. 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 workplace safety and health measures.
 
3. 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 persuant to this, all workplaces in the country have to be registered with the Ministry where an assessment is done to ensure clean bill of safety and health of the workplace.
 
4. Note that Section 13, states that, it is the responsibility of an employer-(a) to take, as far as is reasonably practicable, all measures for the protection of his or her workers and the general public from the dangerous aspects of the employer's undertaking at his or her own cost; (b) to ensure, as far is reasonably practicable, that the working environment is kept free from any hazard.
 
5. Similarly, Section 42 requires the Commissioner for Occupational Safety and Health to approve architectural drawings or a plan 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. Over the recent past, there have been rampant occupational accidents at construction sites where; excavations have caved in, roof tops of structures collapsed, fire outbreak among others. Even when the buildings have been 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.
 
6. Preliminary Investigations indicate to the following;
 
a) The Crest foam factory is not registered with the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development contrary to S.40 and 41 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, No. 9 of 2006.
 
b) The Architectural Drawings for Crest foam factory were not approved by the Commissioner, contrary to S.42 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, No.9 of 2006.
 
c) Crest foam factory has no adequate fire preparedness and response systems including escape routes, chemical safety systems and means of extiquishing fire contrary to S.57, 58 and 59 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, No. 9 of 2006.
 
Action Taken
 
i. An investigation team is on site to investigate the accident to ensure that technical advice is adhrered to. The findings of the investigation will be shared widely with similar establishments to prevent recoourrence, loss of life, property and financial resources.
 
ii. Enforcement Teams from MGLSD are in the field to ensure compliance with the Law.
 
iii. The Ministry has set up a sensitization team to create awareness about the law.
 
iv. We have initiated a training programme for employers and workers on the occupational safety and health systems and standards.
 
v. The Ministry has set up a coordination Team to collaborate and network with other Government Agencies like Police, URA, NEMA, UNBS, PPDA, URBS, Parliament (Worker's MP) and Workers and the Employerr's Organisation on occupational safety and health systems and standards.
 
 
Finally, the MGLSD retiterates its call to all establishments, companies and organisations to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, No. 9 of 2006.