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Safety professionals to enhance skills at conference

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The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), a non-profit making, Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE), organization that strives to provide professional guidance, training, consultancy and resources to the industrial and social sectors in different geographical areas in Nigeria, is set to hold the 7th edition of its annual conference tomorrow.

The president of the Nigerian chapter of the association, NSIKAK A. EKAM who has twenty-five years experience in Health and Safety that cuts across construction, air-conditioning and refrigeration, palm oil crushing plant, soap manufacturing, palm oil refinery, road transportation, upstream oil and gas production/emergency response and preparedness spoke to The Guardian, about the focus of the conference which will provide a forum for Nigerian occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals and the public to synergize on safety.

What are HSE standards?
Health Safety and Environmental (HSE) standards are repeatable, harmonised, agreed and documented way of doing something or processes etc in relation to HSE effect. Standards contain technical specifications or other precise criteria designed to be used consistently as a rule, guideline, or definition. They may be advisory or compulsory and norms laid down by an advisory or regulatory body that may be either voluntary or statutory.

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What is the theme of the conference and what informed the choice?
Theme for ASSP Nigeria Chapter conference is “Productivity and Profitability Matrices in HSE System”
Productivity and profitability go hand in hand with safety. A safe and healthy workplace not only protects workers from injury and illness, but it can also lower injury/illness costs, reduce absenteeism and turnover, increase productivity and quality, and raise employee morale. In other words, safety is good for business. 

So you mean Nigerians are not safety conscious?
I would say that Nigerians are yet to be fully safety conscious because we are still having repeated safety incidents. Safety consciousness may be defined as awareness of hazards and alertness to danger. American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) Nigeria Chapter is deeply saddened at the tragic loss of lives and sufferings that Nigerian has been experiencing because of Petroleum Tanker spill/fire incidents, buildings collapse and floods. ASSP offers heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who have been killed, injured, maimed and loss livelihood and deep sympathy to all whose lives have been affected. I plead with Nigerians to learn from Incident, share learning with friends and families member. We need to reverse the tide.

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Is the economic situation of the country biting hard on the health among Nigerians?
Economic situation today are among the factors affecting health among Nigerians. Nigerians are in want of jobs. Money valuation today is a challenge. 

Poor feeding, cost of available medical services, limited facilities and poor electricity supplies compound health challenges of the common person on the streets. Weaknesses in health financing and governance are known contributors to the current state of Nigeria’s health system. Ministry of Health has the potential to strengthen the health system overall by moving legislators from the audience to collaborators. Yet often legislature and ministry meet only when there is a budget to defend or a disease outbreak to explain. Nigeria’s economic potential is constrained by many structural issues, including inadequate infrastructure, tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, obstacles to investment, lack of confidence in currency valuation, and limited foreign exchange capacity.

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What are the measures needed to be put in place in workplaces to ensure a healthy environment?
A healthy workplace is one where workers and managers collaborate to continually improve the health, safety and wellbeing of all workers and by doing this, sustain the productivity of the business (World Health Organisation, 2009).

Healthy work environment should have an approved and appropriate building design and age, workplace layout, workstation set-up, furniture and equipment design and quality, space, temperature, ventilation, lighting, noise, vibration, radiation, air quality.

What is the role of the government in ensuring healthy citizens?
Federal, state and local governments to provide HSE standards and laws, enforcement and compliance monitoring, enabling environment for job creation and provision of services such as security, education, road constructions and maintenance, welfare programs, and hospital and health care etc that support and enhance healthy living. 

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What are the things that provoke an unhealthy environment?
Poor Environmental regulations and laws, lack of monitoring and enforcement of such laws. Poor or no waste management and disposal regime, poor or lack of environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse.

Other factors included air, water, and soil pollution. WHO also pointed at secondhand smoke, chemical exposure, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation. Environmental factors contribute to more than 100 types of diseases and injuries.

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Overpopulation: This is a never-ending human tragedy which is responsible for causing all types of environmental issues. Water pollution, resources crisis, gender imbalance, pollution, land pollution, urban sprawling, deforestation, over production are some common examples of dangerous effects cause by overpopulation. 

Who is the target audience for this event?
Our annual preconference training and conference are open to anyone in the safety profession or a related field and public. (Businesses owners, employers, employees, regulators and legislators etc).

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How has ASSP, Nigeria Chapter helped in fostering safety among the citizens?
ASSP conduct Safety awareness seminars, training, advocacy, site inspections, radio/television talk shows, disaster counseling, collaboration with other Safety Organisations, Agencies and Ministries like Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON), Federal Road Safety Commission, Ministry of labour and Productivity, Media houses etc. Making Nigeria a safer and healthier place for all.

What are the things to expect in this event?
Participants will strengthen their Safety skillset and improve on their situational awareness, be aware of what is happening around them in terms of where they are, where you are supposed to be, and whether anyone or anything around you is a threat to your health and safety.

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Have a clearer understanding of saying “Productivity and profitability go hand in hand with safety”.

A safe and healthy workplace not only protects workers from injury and illness, but it can also lower injury/illness costs, reduce absenteeism and turnover, increase productivity and quality, and raise employee morale. In other words, safety is good for business.

Identify and grow the number of new individuals, companies and agencies sponsoring the future event and our membership base ASSP hope to create and maintain a relationship with participants, other participating professional bodies, government parastatal, agencies and public as we journey together (Strength is in numbers) for a Safer OSH future for Nigeria.

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Are Nigerians meeting up with the HSE standards? 
Nigerians are yet to meet up with HSE standards and Laws. Some of us don’t respect and obey federal, state, and local laws. Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.

We don’t stay clear of fallen petroleum tankers. We still attempt scoping spilt product instead of reporting the incident immediately to nearest Nigeria National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) office or Fire Station. Explosion and fire usually is the end result of scoping of product from fallen Tank.

We continue to occupy houses marked unsafe for awaiting demolition. Breach or go across safety barriers and warning for flood, bad road section or ongoing demolition exercise sites putting sometimes ourselves or love ones in harm’s way.

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We still create additional traffic lanes when there is a traffic jam or gridlock. 

We hamper or prevent emergency services responding to an accident or incident.

What are the things that serve as an infringement on the health, the safety of the people?
Any breach of health and safety regulations is a criminal offence, and if you or your company are responsible, you could face prosecution.

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It is an employer’s duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and other people who might be affected by their business. Employers must do whatever is reasonably practicable to achieve this.

HSE Regulations require employers to provide: adequate lighting, heating, ventilation and workspace (and keep them in a clean condition); staff facilities, including toilets, washing facilities and refreshment; and safe passageways, i.e. to prevent slipping and tripping hazards and training.

Workers have a duty to take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by your actions at work. Workers must co-operate with employers and co-workers to help everyone meet their legal requirements. Obey all Safety rules and regulation, use all safe work procedures and work aids provided, use provided Personal Protective Equipment’s (PPE) and participate in all provided developmental/ on the job training provided by his employer.

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Who are the guest speakers at the programme?
The weeklong programme is divided into three sections:
Preconference training: March 16 -18 2020

Mr. Jitu C. Patel, CPEA, FASSP USA will be conducting Process Safety Management (PSM) while by Mr. Larry Wilson CEO

SafeStart USA The Difference between Human Factors and Behaviour-Based Safety 
Conference and Exhibition: March 19 -21, 2020

Larry Wilson a Safety Consultant and CEO of SafeStart International from Canada, Thomas Kramer Managing Principal LJB Inc from the USA will give keynote addresses at the event.

Diana Stegall, CSP, CFPS, ALCM, CPCU, ARM 2019-20 ASSP President is one of our international visitors that will be making a speech among others.

Our own Hon. Ochiglegor Idagbo, Chairman ASSP PDC and Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring, Honourable Minister of State Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN) and H. Ali.

General Manager, Group Health, Safety Environment & Quality (HSE&Q)
NNPC, H.  Ali

Post-conference dinner: March 20, 2020
Networking dinner.

 


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