Mozambique: Health Problems in Factory Caused By Poor Ventilation

Maputo — A preliminary report, drawn up by the multi-sector group of inspectors investigating the repeated fainting of workers and other health problems, at the Darling beauty products factory at Beluluane, on the outskirts of Maputo, says that the problem is internal to the factory, caused mainly by poor ventilation.

The inspectors thus contradicted the claims made by the Darling management, who insisted that any noxious substance causing the fainting must come from outside the factory, which suggested that the problem lay with other Beluluane industries.

There have been two incidents of mass fainting at Darling. In November 2018, 132 workers fell ill and had to be given medical treatment. Last Monday, 72 workers were rushed to the Maputo Provincial Hospital in Matola, but by the evening all had been discharged, and doctors said there were no serious cases of poisoning.

A gas leak was suspected and so an investigation team was set up, including inspectors from the National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE), the General Inspectorate of Labour, and from the management of the Beluluane Industrial Park.

Cited in Thursday's issue of the independent newsheet "Mediafax", the Maputo provincial chief inspector, Figueiredo Langa, said that what the team saw in the factory contrasted with the construction blueprints and with the rules for ventilation.

Doors and windows were completely obstructed, and so air could not circulate. Boxes containing the raw materials (chiefly artificial hair) were piled up inside the factory. All this allowed toxic particles to accumulate in the air that workers in the factory were breathing.

The inspection also revealed that foreign workers are being employed illegally at Darling. Langa said that measures will be taken against the company arising from all the irregularities the inspectors had found.

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