A position paper issued by the Jordan Labour Watch (JLW) has illustrated that there are still many gaps in occupational health and safety in Jordan.
The paper, issued by JLW (affiliated with Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies) in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung on the occasion of the Workers’ Memorial Day, which is annually celebrated on April 28, called for conducting a review of all policies regulating the occupational safety and health in the Kingdom, according to a Phenix Centre statement. The paper also emphasized the importance of occupational safety with regards to mental health for workers, and the need to guarantee minimum standards for mental health within labor laws.
From a holistic perspective of occupational health and safety, the paper emphasized that although legal provisions have been received in Jordanian legislation regarding occupational safety and health, there is a great deal of variation in their levels of application, as occupational safety and health standards are less strict for Medium and Small Entreprises (SMEs), where official inspections tend to be less thorough.
The paper stressed the need to train workers on how to maintain their health and safety while working with machines in their workplaces, especially since working women are under-trained, as they take training courses upon joining factories. However, these courses are based on the use of machines to ensure the workflow, rather than the conditions, equipment and mechanisms of occupational safety and health in the work environment. This may explain the spread of occupational safety and health risks of workers in Jordanian factories due to the lack of knowledge in dealing with simple chemicals, mechanisms or others.
The paper said that penalties mentioned in the Labour Law related to occupational safety and health are not a deterrent for employers who do not provide occupational safety and health tools.
In this regard, the paper said that the fine for employers who violate the law ranges between JD100 and JD500, while the cost of any technical or engineering procedures to protect the safety and health of workers is much higher than that, which makes employers prefer paying fines to ensuring safety.
The paper showed that many women in Jordan work for jobs that might jeopardise their safety, such as working in factories and the agricultural sectors, which do not provide all types of social protection to women and men.
Citing statistics by the Social Security Corporation (SSC), the paper said that occupational health and safety accidents in 2020 for the corporation’s subscribers dropped to 9,102 compared with 10,072 accidents and occupational diseases in 2019, marking a decline of 9.6 per cent.
The transformative industries sector is the least likely to apply occupational health and safety measures and accounted for 31 per cent of job injuries in 2020, the paper stated.
The paper stressed the need to ratify the following international labour conventions relating to occupational safety and health, in particular: International Labour Convention No. 155 (Convention on Occupational Safety and Health), International Labour Convention No. (161) (Occupational Health Services Convention), International Labour Convention No. (187) (Convention No. (170) (Convention on the Safety of the Use of Chemicals at Work), International Labour Convention No. (190) (Convention on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the Workplace).