Nutricom Company dragged to court over worker’s negligence
The prominent Nutricom Company, is on the spot for neglecting its workers and exposing them to terrible hazards.
Contrary to the norm that all manufacturing plants MUST provide Personal Protective Equipment, commonly referred to as PPE, the Kawempe based plant deploys workers to use their live bodies for protection.
The PPEs like Gloves, protective hearing gear (earplugs, muffs), hard hats, goggles, respirators, and full-body suits are required to ensure more safety and reassurance in a dangerous manufacturing environment.
However, this is a fallacy to the top management at Nutricom Limited. The latest victim of the company’s negligence is Ezekiel Talemwa who is at the verge of losing his eyes.
On the fateful evening of March 28, 2023, Talemwa was tasked to unblock a contaminated tank full of hazardous chemicals at the company. With no option, the young man ventured into the confined and treacherous tank with only torches to guide his way. He tragically lost consciousness and fell. The company’s response to this tragic accident was very insensitive as the boy was rushed by his fellow workers for first aid/ treatment.
Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated rapidly and as we write this, he is at the verge of getting blind and has since developed severe liver complications. Incidentally the company is unwilling to bear the financial burden of his medical expenses.
Left with no option, the victim’s family has sought for court redress.
The pain and suffering he is enduring demands accountability and fair compensation. The family lawyers contend that Talemwa deserves to have his voice heard, and the responsible parties be held accountable for their negligence.
Through the family’s lawyers of Bitangaro & Co. Advocates, they petitioned the Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions (COFTU) following a police case file vide CRB 895/2023 of Kawempe Police Station. The details in the petition indicate that Talemwa and his father John Mukasa are seeking justice. “Our Client’s son was employed at a factory brewing local fermented drinks called Nutricom Food $ Beverages Limited was forced to go down into a fermentation tank to clean without safety gears and or protective wear. As a result, Talemwa was incapacitated by the toxic substances in the tank and he fell . Attempts to rescue him were delayed by the negligence and careless acts of the factory premises and sought help from the police.
The police patrol that came to rescue promptly cut the tank and removed the victim and rushed him to Mulago Hospital where he was given urgent and critical medical intervention.
The company has since influenced the relevant offices to ensure that the matter is done away with. The company has refused to amicably and sufficiently compensate the family of the victim of the incapacitation and continued medical care that the victim requires for an unknown period…..,” the document reads in part.
The lawyers seek indulgence from COFTU to address the impunity and careless attitude of the company towards the life and wellbeing of the victim – a clear insight in their attitude towards workers. “The company failed and has now refused to settle the said matter. It has completely ceased rendering the financial support that is required for the care of the patient. The family has no means of settling the inevitable expenses and costs. If no urgent compensation is made to the family, the patient may be adversely affected….,” concludes the document. The Nutricom Managing Director was not able to pick our calls on his known Airtel number by the press time,
Why is PPE important
PPE manufacturing is important for the following five reasons:
• Protection — PPE protects workers from injuries caused by exposure to hazardous materials, including chemicals, noise, heat, and flying debris. It can also help prevent or reduce the severity of injuries that do occur. Workers are the backbone of any operation, and their safety should be a priority
• Productivity — Wearing PPE can help workers feel more comfortable while performing their tasks, which can lead to increased productivity
• Morale — A safe workplace is also a happy workplace. When workers feel confident that they are protected from potential injuries, they are more likely to have a positive attitude and be motivated to do their best work
• Compliance — In some cases, wearing PPE may be required by law or regulation. For instance, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has noise exposure limits that require workers to wear hearing protection when working in loud environments
• Cost savings — Injuries can be costly, both in terms of medical expenses and lost productivity. By preventing injuries, PPE can help save money for employers and workers alike. Expenses related to workplace injuries and illnesses are estimated to cost more than $170 billion annually
Examples of PPE
You will have to use different types of PPE depending on the manufacturing hazards to which your workplace is subject.
Here are 10 PPE manufacturing use cases:
1. Breathing masks — These can prevent you from breathing in toxic chemicals. Depending on the facility, you may need a simple paper mask or a more complex respirator. Wearing a mask at work will also prevent long-term respiratory problems
2. Protective clothing — Many manufacturing facilities require workers to wear protective clothing. This could include items such as gloves, aprons, overalls, and boots. The type of clothing you need will depend on the nature of the work you are doing
3. Earplugs or earmuffs — Manufacturing facilities can be noisy, so it is important to protect your hearing. Earplugs or earmuffs will help to reduce the noise levels that you are exposed to
4. Safety glasses — Often there is a risk of flying debris or chemicals getting into your eyes. Wearing safety glasses will help to protect your eyes from these hazards
5. Face shields — Face shields provide additional protection for your face, eyes, and mouth. They are often used in conjunction with safety glasses or goggles when manufacturing facilities are especially dangerous
6. Hard hats — Essential in some manufacturing environments where there is a risk of objects falling from above. They protect your head from impact and help to prevent serious injuries
7. Life jackets — There are times when workers should wear life jackets. This is usually the case when working near water. Lifejackets are buoyant and could help save you from drowning
8. Fall protection — When working at heights, there is a risk of falling. Wearing fall protection, such as a harness, will help to prevent serious injuries if you do fall
9. Fire extinguishers — Fire extinguishers are essential in any workplace, but they are especially important in manufacturing facilities. Having a fire extinguisher close at hand can help to prevent serious injuries or damage to property
10. First aid kit — A first aid kit should be available in all workplaces, including manufacturing facilities. This is because accidents can happen at any time, and it is important to be prepared for them. First aid kits should include bandages, disinfectant, and pain relief medication
There are many other examples, such as welding helmets, fire-retardant leggings, or fully-sealed body suits. The key to PPE manufacturing safety is wearing the right equipment for the job you are doing and ensuring that it is properly fitted to protect you effectively.