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Failure to observe the necessary occupational safety and health measures has become a worrying phenomenon in Kosovo, especially in the construction sector. Only in the first four months of this year, four workers have lost their lives and more than 25 have suffered injuries at their workplaces. According to the Deputy Chief Inspector of the Kosovo Labor Inspectorate, Agim Millaku, it is in the employers’ interest to take adequate protection measures for their employees. “In case of an accident, the damages are much greater for the employer than the corners they cut by not buying the required protection equipment for workers,” Millaku said in Ferizaj, at the “The importance of occupation safety” roundtable, held in Ferizaj/Urosevac.
Besnik Berisha, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, at the roundtable with Ferizaj businesses and non-governmental organizations, stated that an open social dialog between businesses and workers is indispensable to reduce the rate of occupational injuries and fatal accidents. “We are committed to increasing the number of inspectors this year, and I believe that by the end of the year we will have 20 new inspectors. Through the LI, we aim to increase the number of inspections, strengthen the capacities of the labor inspectorate and organize awareness campaigns in the field of working conditions”, Berisha declared.
According to the Law on Occupational Safety and Health, it is already mandatory for each company that has over 50 employees to have at least one occupational safety and health assessment expert. Bekim Doli, an occupational safety and health expert, encouraged Kosovar companies to invest more in safety equipment and worker training in order to eliminate occupational hazards. “Construction is an activity where injuries are frequent and even daily, and their number is getting higher. Construction is the sector with the largest number of injuries and deaths due to lack of safety, mainly due to the lack of employee training and disregard of basic safety rules at work,” Doli said.
This roundtable was organized under the project “Communication Support to the European Integration Process” Project funded by the European Union Office in Kosovo, in cooperation with the Ministry of European Integration.