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New gov't bill introduces workplace levy [Details]

In 2023, the total number of people in the labour force in Kenya increased to 19.1 million people with those in informal employment making up 16 million.

COTU SG Francis Atwoli, President William Ruto, and Labour CS Florence Bore in Geneva on Thursday, June 15, 2023

The Ministry of Labour & Social Protection has asked Kenyans to submit their views on the proposed Occupational Safety and Health Bill, 2024.

This comprehensive piece of legislation is designed to safeguard the well-being of all individuals at work by establishing rigorous health and safety measures.

If passed, this will put the government at the centre of occupational safety and compensation of workplace related injuries, which for a long time has been put in the hands of employers & insurance companies.

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A key feature of the bill is the introduction of an Occupational Safety and Health Levy.

This levy will be imposed on all registered workplaces to fund the operations of the Occupational Safety and Health Authority.

It's designed to ensure that the authority has the necessary resources to enforce the law effectively, promoting safer working environments across all sectors.

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The bill stipulates that all workplaces must be registered with the newly formed authority.

Employers are required to provide detailed information about their operations during this registration process.

This requirement will help the authority monitor and manage workplace safety standards effectively, ensuring that all environments comply with the law.

According to the bill, a workplace “means any place, land, premises, location, vessel or thing, at, in, upon, or near where work is carried out for a business or undertaking and includes any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work.”

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The bill proposes the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Authority.

This body will be responsible for the enforcement of the bill’s provisions, coordinating with various stakeholders to ensure widespread compliance and safety in the workplace.

The authority will be headquartered in Nairobi, with plans to expand with additional offices throughout the country.

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This strategic placement ensures that the authority remains accessible and able to address safety and health issues promptly across all regions.

The bill also provides for the appointment of specialized officers tasked with enforcing safety standards.

These officers will play a crucial role in inspecting workplaces, ensuring compliance with the law, and assisting employers in understanding and implementing safety and health regulations.

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The introduction of the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, 2024, signals a major shift towards prioritizing worker safety in Kenya.

By establishing a dedicated authority and implementing a structured registration and compliance system, the bill aims to address workplace injuries and illnesses.

In 2023, the total number of people in the labour force in Kenya increased to 19.1 million people with those in informal employment making up 16 million.

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Approximately 750,000 run businesses while 3.1 million are engaged in formal employment.

Notably, the number of people in the labour force continuously increased over the last years. An upsurge in the labour force translates to an increase in the demand for Occupational Safety and Health Services.

The total number of occupational accidents reported in Kenya for the calendar year 2023 was 6979 with 380 fatal accidents. 512 suspected occupational diseases were also reported.

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