Health organisation advocates better safety standards in workplaces

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By Uchenna Eletuo

The Society of Occupational and Environmental Health Physicians of Nigeria (SOEHPON), on Thursday, complained of neglect of occupational and environment safety standards in the workplace.

It said this had caused many avoidable incidents that had resulted in loss of lives in Nigeria.

The organisation said that a better action in the workplace would save the country the loss of its workforce, while also fostering productivity and development in the country.

Safety experts of the organisation spoke at its workshop held at the Civic Center, Lagos, to change the culture positively.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop, with the theme “The Power of the Media to Change Occupational Health and Safety Landscape in Nigeria” was to enlist the media in the advocacy.

It highlighted the dangers associated with an unhealthy workplace environment and ways to prevent risk at work.

Recall that the death of a young physician, Dr Vwaere Diaso, because of a faulty elevator at the General Hospital Odan at Lagos Island, in August 2023, irked many.

Speaking at the workshop, SOEHPON President, Dr Musa Shaibu, described occupational health as a speciality of medicine.

Shaibu said it was only in the oil and gas sector of the country that a semblance of health safety standards was observed.

He said that many others were risking the lives of workers daily in an unregulated health safety environment.

According to him, it is a balance of health and workplace that promotes productivity.

“Workplace or environment of daily routine such as kitchen, schools, hospitals, offices and market has a health issue-related situation that must not be overlooked.

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“Our society has paid dearly for the neglect of health safety in the workplace and cannot continue to pay lip service to it at this contemporary age of digital evolution.

“Our collaboration with the media is to drive the measure home and bring it to the consciousness of everyone in the society, to change the trend positively for the common good,” he said.

The environment health expert decried the dearth of regulatory acts to enforce the needed measures to halt the human-depleting practices that the workplace was fraught with.

He called on the National Assembly to reform the system with acts that could restrain people from unwholesome practices.

Speaking at the event, another executive of the body, Prof. Folashade Omokhodion, said that the work was for the organisation and its partners to make an impact in the nation’s safety space and to preserve lives.

Omokhodion said that as physicians that managed workplace-related health issues, the campaign was to create an awareness in order to halt things that people do that cause them illness and disease.

She frowned at chemical-populated workplaces where people work daily without safety kits.

The professor said such tradition predisposed workers to terminal illnesses.

She commended the Lagos State Government in its effort to check noise pollution and called on other states to do the same for a healthy workforce and productivity.

She said that a safeguarded workplace lowers sickness, absenteeism, reduced man-hour losses and drove workers motivation.(NAN)(

Edited by Oluwole Sogunle

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