Zambia’s Green Jobs Programme focuses on occupational safety and health

The ILO is promoting safe, healthy and sustainable jobs in the building and construction sector in Zambia.

News | 18 August 2014
Zambia’s Green Jobs Programme has developed an occupational safety and health (OSH) project to address the often poor working conditions in the building and construction sector. The design, construction, maintenance, and decommissioning of buildings present a number of OSH risks and challenges for workers. Emerging new technologies and working procedures add potentially further risks.

The project will help establish baseline information in terms of the sector’s OSH profile for the development and implementation of relevant tools. Planned interventions will include:
  1. the development and dissemination of OSH awareness-raising materials to all stakeholders;
  2. a comprehensive review of the current OSH legislation relating to the sector; and
  3. a review of curriculums of vocational and technical training institutions with a view to introducing OSH modules and eventually integrating OSH into courses offered.
Moreover, some of ILO’s long-standing training programmes, such as WIND (Work Improvement in Neighbourhood Development) and WISE (Work Improvement in Small Enterprises) will be adapted and used as training modules in the framework of the project’s activities.

Over the past few years, Zambia has managed to maintain an impressive macro-economic growth rate. However, this has not translated into job creation or enduring poverty reduction. In response, the Government has given strong focus on the private sector, in particular small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) development.

The building and construction sector offers high potential for the creation of employment through MSMEs development and an excellent means for promoting green jobs. In this sector, green jobs contribute to the production and installation of environmentally-friendly construction materials as well as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions generated by buildings.

However, the sector faces challenges in terms of poor working conditions. Between 2003 and 2007, 58 occupational fatalities were reported. The reason for these accidents are, among others, low levels of awareness and skills, lack of or inadequate coverage of OSH in vocational and technical courses, weak, outdated legislation, inadequate capacity of government enforcement bodies and inadequate co-ordination among government institutions.

The Joint UN Zambia Green Jobs Programme (2012-2017) funded by the Government of Finland seeks to unlock the green job potential of Zambia’s building industry by focusing on the value chain for green building goods and services.