With large informal sectors, the governments of many African countries are unable to inspect most of the workplaces to ensure that employers are taking good care of their workers. Occupational accidents are common as companies flout safety regulations put in place by state agencies.
More than 54,000 fatal occupational accidents and about 42 million work-related accidents take place every year in sub-Saharan Africa, according to research by Science Direct. Even in countries with strong labor unions like South Africa, there is still insufficient oversight to prevent accidents from happening.
While not all jobs are prone to accidents, there are some that are a more susceptible than others. In this list AFKInsider looks at the top most dangerous jobs in Africa.
Sources: The Telegraph, Mail & Guardian Africa, CNN News
According to South Africa’s farmers’ union, working on a South African farm is the country’s most dangerous occupation, with twice as many farm workers killed as police officers each year. And it’s not because of over-enthusiastic cows or dangerous machinery. Afriforum and the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU) reported that there were 67 farm murders over 277 farm attacks in 2014, which the organization believes is the highest figure since 1990.
With increased insurgency activity by Islamic terror group Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria more and more truck and oil tanker drivers are getting killed every other week. It’s now one of the riskiest job to take in a country where unemployment is quite high. The situation is made worse by the bad roads that make it easy for the attackers to stop the trackers.
Boda-boda operators account for 41 percent of all trauma patients at the main referral hospital in Kampala, Uganda. The actual numbers will be incredibly high considering with about 80,000 boda-boda serving as the main form of transport in Kampala, there is estimated to be at least 800,000 unsafe trips taken daily.
In Ethiopia municipal solid waste is collected manually. Garbage collectors in Addis are exposed to human faecal matter, toxic materials (such as e-waste), bottles with chemical residues, metal containers with residue pesticides and solvents, sharps and other infectious wastes from hospitals, and batteries containing heavy metals.
The hazards faced by Africa’s healthcare workers was highlighted in 2015 by the ebola outbreak in the three West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Out of the nearly 12,000 deaths from the virus, at least 500 were health workers trying to contain the epidemic. There were at least 900 cases of reported infections among health workers in the three countries.
In a 2006 study of 42 construction contractors in Nigeria, it was discovered that the best safety record was five injuries per worker and two accidents per 100 workers – and that’s despite huge numbers of unreported cases.
In many countries in Africa threats of injury and death are prevalent among miners due to a lack of safety precautions and regulations. Many of the deaths are attributed to cave-ins or mine collapses. In Zambia 87 death and 914 non-fatal accidents were reported between 2007 and 2011 from a pool of about 55,000 miners. In 2011 alone there were 239 workers who were permanently disabled. In 2013, a gold mine collapse in the Democratic Republic of Congo killed at least 20 people. A gold mine collapse in Ghana took at least 16 lives.
Earlier in 2015, two United Nations employees stationed in the new mission in the Central African Republic were abducted in the country’s capital Bangui. A war between majority Christians and minority Muslims has led to wanton killings in the country, forcing the U.N. to intervene. The two sides may abduct a U.N. staffer to try and force the mission to support their side or yield to their demands.
A week doesn’t go by without news of an attack on the African Union forces trying to bring peace in war-torn Somalia. The Al Shabab Islamist militants, who are fighting to overthrow a western-backed Mogadishu government, often launch deadly attacks on the A.U. forces, and in several cases kill some of the troops.
It is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. And one of the most tragic. It is that corner of Africa where Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo come together. Straddling it is Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest (established in 1925) and one of our continent’s most important protected areas. Virunga is under constant siege – 12 different militias operate in the area. They compete with each other for the easy cash that can be made from the park’s natural resources: Lake Edward for fish, elephants for ivory, baby gorillas for bush meat, the forests for charcoal – especially the old-growth hardwoods from the Afromontane and Afro-Alpine forests. This is one of Africa’s treasure troves and, hence, one of its most toxic, and intoxicating, killing fields.