22 September 2018.
Amman – Better Work Jordan and the Social Security Corporation, a national institution applying insurance schemes across both the private and public sector, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in August. The agreement is set to boost the provision of safer working conditions across the country’s factories through a partnership focusing on occupational safety and health.
The agreement, which builds upon an already well-established collaboration, aims to boost the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry by enhancing its compliance with Jordan’s labour and social security laws, as well as the labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Better Work—a flagship programme of the United Nations’ ILO jointly run by the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group—sees the cooperation as a key strategy to promoting safe working conditions in factories.
Better Work Jordan Programme Manager Tareq Abu Qaoud said at the signing ceremony that encouraging enterprises to comply with the labour and social security laws was one of the agency’s top priorities.
“The agreement, which has immediate effect, provides a strengthening of the occupational safety and health measures implemented in the workplace along with an enhanced observance of the core labour standards of the ILO,” he said. “Reducing occupational injuries and diseases sustained by workers during their employment will automatically impact the factories’ economic performance by improving their competitiveness.”
The agreement will benefit workplaces spanning the garment, chemical, plastics and engineering industries, among others, following the recent expansion of the UN programme to further manufacturing sectors. The initiative is part of efforts to help the Kingdom further access the European Union market following last year’s Simplified Rules of Origin Agreement that allows Jordan to export tariff-free to the European bloc.
General manager at the Social Security Corporation Nadia Rawabdeh said the agreement, which is valid for two years, was a translation of the strong partnership between national and international organizations to provide occupational safety and health to workers.
Rawabdeh said guaranteeing the health and safety of all workers was a national responsibility.
Beside requiring factories to apply safety measures inside their premises, the Social Security Corporation now expects them to pay four per cent of work-related injury fees instead of the previous two per cent.
Also, factories where no precautionary measures were implemented will be bound to cover the full medical costs in the case of an injury, Rawabdeh added.
Following the agreement, the two agencies will cooperate on raising awareness and education on occupational safety and health across the country’s industrial sector, verify its implementation and help improve it where needed, exchanging their respective technical expertise in the process.
As part of the agreement, a Social Security Corporation employee will join the Better Work Jordan team for a year, while joint training programmes inside factories will bring both agencies’ employees together giving them a chance to boost their skills and knowledge on the subject.