01 May

The Workers House issued its annual report on Wednesday, on the occasion of the International Day for Safety and Health in the Workplace. According to the report, the pandemic has revealed wide legislative and regulatory gaps in the field of occupational safety and health, and in terms of the extent to which legislation covers institutions and workers, underlining the fact that large sectors of the workforce are not covered. 

Quoting figures issued by the Social Security Corporation (SSC), the report shows that an average of 14,000 work accidents occur annually, causing injuries and about 200 deaths, “at a rate of one work injury every 37 minutes, and one death every two days”.

The manufacturing sector witnesses the highest percentage of accidents, more than 30 percent of total injuries, according to the report, followed by the wholesale and retail sector, with 18 percent, and the construction sector with 13 percent.

Injuries caused by falling constitute the highest percentage of work injuries, more than 30 percent of the total injuries, followed by injuries resulting from falling objects, 14 percent, and by manual tools, 12 percent. According to the report, 4 percent of the GDP is lost as a result of the costs of injuries.

The report points out that these figures do not reflect the actual number of work injuries in Jordan, “which is certainly much higher, due to several reasons.”

Workers in the informal economy, who are estimated to constitute approximately 48 percent of the total workforce in the Kingdom, are not covered by social security. The same goes for workers in the agricultural sector, which, globally, has the highest rates of work injuries.

More than half a million workers do not have social security or any kind of insurance, the report shows, and some facilities that are covered do not report injuries and prefer to cover injury expenses through insurance companies, in order to keep their file clean with the SSC.

The report pointed to a clear shortage, in the Ministry of Labor, of personnel specialized in monitoring the extent of compliance with occupational safety and health conditions at work sites. The annual rate of visits by labor inspectors to check occupational safety and health reaches about 5,000, while the number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, according to the Department of Statistics, is 180,680.

At legislative level, the report indicates that although the Labor Law has devoted a special chapter to the subject of occupational safety and health, and issued a number of regulations and instructions, especially with regard to the precautions needed to protect institutions and employees from work hazards, Jordanian laws and regulations need more comprehensive and technical texts that include specialized directives to prevent risks in every sector.

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