Why We Exist?
We exist to increase access to Occupational safety and health education, information, innovations and skills to the population of Uganda through the provision of OSH education and skills sustainably. We seek to improve the safety,health and socio-economic wellbeing of the people of Uganda.
We draw our deep inspiration from the strong tie between poor Occupational safety and health and the lack of OSH awareness, information, skills and education. The Inadequate knowledge and failure to adhere to OSH requirements means talent loss, having higher rate of workplace accidents, injuries, deaths and hidden costs resulting into increased expenditure on medical and legal services and eventually reduced revenue.
Why OSH ?
Uganda is in the midst of a journey towards a middle income status. No country in the world has ever reached this stage without close emphasis on OSH. For this to happen here in Uganda, we need to foster an OSH oriented generation that will embrace sustainability and see technology and its related applications as a future not which they will just benefit from but which they can help create.
Risking one’s life or health should never be considered merely part of the job. In 2006, the Ugandan government passed the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act to ensure Ugandans the right to “safe and healthful working conditions”. Yet, workplace hazards continue to inflict a tremendous toll in both human and economic costs. According to the ILO estimates, every year over 2.3 million women and men die from a work-related injury or disease. This is more than 6,000 victims per day, about twice as many as in the World Trade Centre tragedy – each and every day of the year involved in non-fatal occupational accidents causing serious injuries and absences from work. This has a resultant negative effect on the efficiency, effectiveness, productivity of workers and administrative expenses, which in turn affects the profitability of enterprises.
If today’s graduates are equipped with the right skills, if they have the right networks, if they have the right attitude, Uganda’s youth unemployment crisis that stands at 83% will reduce in two decades from now. We have to make sure we equip every student in Uganda and the region with OSH skills to be relevant in future, a future that is dotted with the digital revolution requiring skills in science, technology and sustainable development.
Why Now ?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that people in developing countries Uganda inclusive are exposed to 80% of the global occupational hazards. These hazards are associated with risks that are likely to cause diseases, injuries, and severe fatalities to workers. Majority of occupational diseases are occurring almost exclusively in developing countries and are expected to double by the year 2025.
On the national scene, although there has not been much study on OHS in work place and there is poor record of related deaths, injuries, diseases, effect on productivity and costs for the economy, existing literature show that poor OHS practices have caused many problems in the country; 60% of Mulago (the main national) hospital budget-Uganda Shillings 1.8 trillion (3% of the country’s GDP) is spent on treating accident related injuries and or diseases related to accidents and or poor practices related to OHS. With over 3% of its GDP going to OHS related illness treatment costs. These occupational injuries and diseases create needless human suffering, a tremendous burden upon health care resources, and an enormous drain on our nations productivity. is one of the most important factors the country needs to address, if it is to attain its Vision 2040 of a transformed Uganda Society from a peasant to a modern prosperous country within 30 years.
The ILO standard of OSH inspector to worker ratio is 1:500, in Uganda, the population employed is estimated at 7.9 million as compared to the 18 inspectors, which implies an inspector to worker ratio of 1:438,889 .
Work place accidents have been manifested in perpetual occurrences of fire outbreaks, collapse of walls at construction sites and emerging work related illnesses. For example, the most up to date records in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development indicated that 1,520 people were injured at various workplaces in Uganda from 2006 to 2008 and 856 workers contracted various occupational diseases and illnesses in the year 2007 alone.
Also to note is that from 2008 to 2009, over 40 buildings collapsed killing and injuring many workers in Uganda. There have also been reports of fires in several buildings/ workplaces all over the country.
it was reported that the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development threatened to close 300,000 institutions over non-compliance with Occupational Safety and Health requirements. The compliance rates across the country stand at 30% whereas in government institutions compliance stands at 45%11.
Our purpose therefore is to solve the problem of limited access to occupational safety and health education, information and skills and thus identify this problem as a national core challenge.
Inadequate knowledge and failure to adhere to OSH requirements means talent loss, having higher rate of workplace accidents, injuries, deaths and hidden costs resulting into increased expenditure on medical and legal services and eventually reduced revenue.