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April 18, 2024

Group harps on occupational health, safety in workplaces

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By Victor Okoye

National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN) has urged government and all stakeholders to make the issues of health and safety of workers in workplaces a priority in the country.

Its Chairman in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr Festus Daniel, made the plea on the sidelines of a one-day workshop organised by ETPM-Reckon Singapore and International Security Organsaation (ISO) in collaboration with NISN on Friday in Abuja.

Daniel said he was really passionate about the issue of safety, most especially in Nigeria, hence the need to organise the workshop.

He said “the safety of workers in an environment and their health, whether in public or private institutions is very important because these are the people building the economy of our nation.

“I therefore think it’s high time the government, Ministry of Labour and Employment, as well as other stakeholders, pick up the baton and begin to run with it.

“They must ensure that as a nation, we begin to attain zero tolerance to workplace accidents, illnesses and ensure that policies are enforced and laws enacted to ensure that workers are safe and healthy during work hours.”

He noted that the aim of the workshop was also to prepare and improve the capacity of workers in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, especially in the area of emerging technologies as it relates to their job description.

“We are having a one day programme in collaboration with International Security Organsaation on Emerging  Issues for factory workers in the Ministry of Labour and Employment basically in the area of the jobs they do like incident inspection, among others.

“So, the aim of the workshop is to prepare them and improve their capacity.

“As a factory inspector, they need to be abreast with today’s technology advancement. That’s why we have put together this programme with the support of  International organisations from Switzerland and Singapore.

“It is also to assess their jobs and evaluate gaps, as well as proffer solutions and steps which can be followed to achieve great success in their jobs/reports.

“It is hoped that the knowledge/skills acquired by the participants will trickle down to every officer in the ministry because their job is pivotal to the safety of our environment and workplaces.”

Anietie Hanson, a certified occupational health and safety professional, noted that what was obtainable today, especially in private institutions was a complete neglect of the safety and health of workers.

He said that some employers were only interested in the money and gains they would get, leaving employees helpless.

He recalled the case of an employee working in a factory whose hand was amputated due to an accident which occurred in his place of work and he was laid off in the process by the organisation.

“This is indeed very wrong and I think it is high time we start creating occupational safety and health awareness in our nation.

“If possible, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) should begin to sensitise people just the same way they propagate safety with respect to the COVID-19  pandemic.

He applealed to the Minister of Labour and Employment to rise up to the challenge and synergise with the various stakeholders to ensure that the health and safety of workers was not compromised. (NAN)

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