NSITF accuses employers of low compliance to safety at workplace
The Deputy General Manager of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Lagos Island branch, Erebi Kia, has pointed out that firms in the electricity and building sectors do not comply with the standard obtainable practice of safety and health at the workplace as mandated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) framework.
Kia disclosed this during a sensitisation walk to commemorate the 2023 World Day for Safety and Health at Work in Lagos, with the theme ‘A Safe and Healthy Working Environment, A Fundamental Right.’
She said occupational safety at the workplace is expected of every organisation and employer in Nigeria, noting that safeguarding the lives and health of employees is key.
“Most corporate entities comply with the safety standards at the workplace, but we have problems in the building sector, with a lot of construction accidents as well as the electricity sector. Certain standards should be put in place before you climb the ladder,” she said.
Kia said every employer of labour needed to register with NSITF to ensure safety standards are in place in the work environment, adding that should any accident occur to any staff, they would be taken care of, while their families are compensated.
She said, while there are still organisations that have not registered, enforcement officers of NSITF visit companies and issue letters for them to comply with the procedure.
“We go to companies for inspections. We have our standard templates on things we look out for and then do a test to see if they are compliant. At the end of the exercise, we come back, do an analysis of what we observed and do a detailed write-up to the organisations on areas they were found wanting and those they did well.
“Then we write them a report in which we inform them that in another three to six months, we will come back and check if our negative observations have been improved upon and we encourage them to keep up the positive observation that we noted. That is what the NSITF does to make sure that employers comply with the standard obtainable practice of safety at the workplace,” she explained.
She, however, disclosed that once the companies remain adamant on compliance, NSITF reports them for further actions.
She revealed that NSITF is starting the legal aspect of employers, who have not registered with the Fund, adding that they would be taken to court.
The Assistant General Manager, Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE), Island branch, Adara Adenike, said a safe and healthy working environment is an important principle and right.
Adenike said this was supported in June 2022 when the International Labour Conference (ILC) included a safe and healthy working environment in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Framework of fundamental principles and rights at the workplace.
Adenike said the agency marks this right every year with a road walk, sensitising communities and creating awareness of occupational safety and health at the workplace, which is an important duty of both employers and workers.