Zambia: Two Tata Tannery Workers Suffocate

3 November 2011

TWO workers at Kabwe Tata Tannery yesterday died after they allegedly inhaled toxic substances in a septic tank and suffocated.

One of the workers, both of whom were in their early 30s, died on the spot while the other died as he was being rushed to Kabwe General Hospital. Kabwe Tata Tannery officials referred all queries to the police while Central Province deputy commanding officer Lackson Sakala confirmed the deaths.

Mr Sakala said police officers were already on the ground to establish what exactly happened. He said investigations into the matter had been instituted and was confident that the police officers at the scene of accident would get to the bottom of the matter.

Mr Sakala said the bodies of the deceased workers were in Kabwe General Hospital mortuary awaiting post-mortem. "I can confirm that we have received a report of a man who died after inhaling some chemicals but as police we want to investigate the matter thoroughly before issuing a report," he said.

However, some workers said they had been working in poor safety conditions for some time. The workers who preferred anonymity called on the Government to take interest in what had been happening at the company where they said they only survived "by the grace of God."

They said they lacked protective clothing and that despite reporting the matter to the labour office in Kabwe, no action had been taken. Officials from the labour office were not available for immediate comment.

The workers said it was right for corrective measures to be taken after lives had been lost in accidents that could easily be avoided.