Chinese cement company promotes occupational health and safety in Namibia

WINDHOEK, Feb. 16 — During his search for employment, Steven Haraseb had one wish: to work in an environment with an organizational culture that prioritizes employees’ safety and well-being.
As luck would have it for him, he got employment at the newly built Whale Rock Cement factory in Otjozondjupa region in central Namibia. China and Namibia jointly built the cement production enterprise.
In a bustling manufacturing environment that presents Haraseb with challenging tasks, Haraseb said that he needs to have knowledge of first-aid skills in case of work-related accidents.
The worker’s wish came true early this year in January when Haraseb and other staff members received first aid training and medical examination from Chinese medical doctors operating in Namibia.
Under the arrangement of the Chinese Embassy in Namibia, four members of the 12th batch of Chinese medical team provided free medical services to Whale Rock Cement staff members in Otjiwarongo, according to Manfred Uxamb, the company’s spokesperson.
According to Uxamb, the medical team also provided consultation services to the Chinese and Namibian employees so as to progressively help them attain a conducive and secure working environment.
“They also presented drugs for treating cold and cough, gastrointestinal inflammation, eye inflammation, headache, insomnia, allergy, and measured workers’ blood pressure, heart rhythm, and conducted acupuncture and cupping massage treatment,” Uxamb added.
Chinese traditional medicine such as acupuncture and cupping massage treatment were a first for Haraseb.
“I was able to know where I stand with my health and well-being, at no cost,” he said.
To further promote preventative safety as well as impart emergency treatment skills to staff, the Chinese medical doctors gave sessions on first aid training.
“The team of doctors also demonstrated how to perform first aid. The workers welcomed and highly praised the on-site medical services provided by the medical team,” Uxamb said.
Haraseb said that he gained hands-on skills to attend to emergency cases in a dynamic environment.
The International Labour Organization estimates that nearly 2.02 million people die each year from work-related accidents or diseases, which are preventable through the implementation of sound prevention, reporting and inspection practices.
Team leader Dr. Chu Hailin, who has been operating at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital in Namibia’s capital Windhoek since June 2018, said the cement factory staff keenly participated in medical examinations and gained first-aid skills. The session further raised awareness of occupational safety and health, Hai added.
More than 80 Chinese and Namibian employees received treatment.
Haraseb said that with newly gained skills, he is at ease to know he can help a colleague, and awareness of his health status will boost productivity.
“The factory has created a large number of local jobs for Namibians,” Uxamb added.
Located about six kilometers from Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa region, the company employs 260 workers.