Government initiates fresh move to curb occupational hazards
The Federal Government has launched the reviewed occupational safety and health inspection checklist in its bid to check occupational hazards in the workplace.
Speaking at the launch during an occasion to mark the 2016 commemoration of the World Day for Safety and Health at work in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, emphasized the need for all the stakeholders to put all hands on deck towards eradicating social exclusion, poverty and achieving equitable inclusive and sustainable development that translates to a positive change.
He submitted that the theme of the campaign of the World Day for safety and health at work for the 2016, “Workplace Stress: A collective Challenge” is no doubt apt against the backdrop of stress at work becoming a common and costly problem in the workplace.
His words: “Today many workers are facing greater pressure in relation to the conditions and demands of modern working life. Beyond psychosocial risk factors, the workplace is becoming more stressful and work-related stress is now generally acknowledged as a global issue affecting all countries, all professions and all workers both in developed and developing countries. Recent researches have indicated that exposure to stressful working conditions (called work stressors) have a direct influence on workers safety and health.”
Senator Ngige stressed that with the focus of attention this year’s commemoration, government calls on active participant and collaboration of all stakeholders in the development and implementation of stress prevention programmes, adding that employers should assess the workplace for the risk of stress for its effective management and control.
The National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health stipulates the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare of all workers. This duty extends to protecting workers from the risk of harm from stressors at work.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Clement Illoh represented by Mrs. Nofisat Arogundade the Director Occupational Safety and Health (OS&H) stated that the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that two million men and women lose their lives through accidents and diseases related to their work yearly and about 270 million occupational accidents and 160 million occupational diseases are recorded yearly.
He said: “The theme for this year speaks for itself; “Workplace Stress: A Collective Challenge,” as it tends to pronounce the high prevalence of stress factors in the workplace. Workplace stress cannot be overemphasized as it is now generally acknowledged as a global issue affecting all countries cutting across all professions both in the developed and developing countries. Therefore there is the need to create awareness to protect the health of all workers.”
In his remarks, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Director Mr. Dennis Zulu said that ILO over the years has ensured that all working men and women should be protected from injuries, diseases, including stress arising from the employment, saying this has influenced the ILO to focus on protection and protecting the well being of workers through improvement of the working conditions and working environment, to control work related diseases.