Monday, March 27, 2023

Nigerian govt directs MDAs to establish occupational safety desks

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The Federal Government has expressed concern over occupational safety and health in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, and has directed MDAs to establish desk offices to attend to such issues.

The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, HOCSF, Folasade Yemi-Esan, gave the directive on Thursday in Abuja during the 2022 Occupational Safety and Health Association’s, OSHA, Workshop.

The workshop has the theme “Safety and Security Knowledge: The Key to Saving Lives.”

Mrs Yemi-Esan, who was represented by the Director, Occupational Safety and Health, OSH, Department, Dr Comfort Adeosun, said safety was becoming an emergency issue.

She said that a circular was issued to MDAs mandating them to establish desk offices and officers to man them, adding that the desk officers would be trained to know the roles they ought to play in their organisations.

She explained that “the head of service is concerned about improving the welfare of civil servants and we expect that the private sector will also come on board to ensure that workers are safe.”

She assured of her office’s willingness to partner OSHA and other organisations to secure healthy working environment for civil servants.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, said that prevention and addressing violence against women and girls should be key part of national response plan to nation’s unity.

Represented by Gloria Ekanem, she said that having knowledge of fundamental human rights was key to knowing how to treat others.

Mrs Tallen said “no offender of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) will go unpunished if found guilty; may I call on organisations and media to join us in the crusade to declare zero tolerance against rape and other forms of GBV against women In Nigeria.

“The trend and patterns witnessed since last year calls for drastic measures and all hands must be on deck to rid our society of all forms of vices.

“I hereby encourage women faced with Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) to be knowledgeable about their rights and seek justice when intimidated; the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will ensure that perpetrators are duly punished and victims get justice.”

Prof. Rabiu Magaji, the Chairman, OSHA National Safety Advocacy Programme, NSAP, presented a paper titled “Best Practices for the Establishment of OSH in the Public Sector: Prospects, Challenges and Way Forward.”

According to him, the International Labour Organisation, ILO, says more than 6,500 people around the world die every day of work-related illnesses and over 1,000 people a day from occupational accidents.

He also said that the number of annual work-related deaths rose from 2.33 million in 2014 to 2.78 million in 2017 and that of the 2.78 million work-related deaths in 2017, 2.4 million were associated with occupational diseases.

He added that fatal occupational accidents were highest in Asia at 71.5 per cent in 2014, followed by Africa with 18.9 per cent, America 6.5 per cent and Europe 2.9 per cent.

Mr Magaji said these accidents result in financial losses such as direct and indirect costs of reconstruction, recovery and reconversion of industrial sites; production interruptions; lost working time; workers’ compensation payments, among others.

He added that “apart from these economic costs, there are intangible costs arising from immense human emotional and physical suffering and work-related stress for individual workers and their families.

“The environmental impacts of industrial hazards do not recognise borders, and their repercussions spread from local to national, regional and international levels.

“Occupational accidents and diseases cause dreadful human pain and suffering, as well as important economic losses, yet awareness of the problem is still too low”, he said.

He, however, said that to be effective, OSH governance requires competence in governing authorities, the scientific community and industry.

This, he said, would fight poverty, promote health, fight discrimination and promote business performance and national competitiveness.

OSHA has a mission to create proactive awareness and promote OSH knowledge globally by making its management an integral part of every sector.


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