House Committee tasks ISPON on professionalism
With reoccurring national disasters ranging from building collapse, gas explosions, boat mishaps, road traffic crashes and more, the House Committee on Safety Standards and Regulations has charged safety professionals to live up to their responsibility of making the nation safer, following the world safety report, which ranks Nigeria as the least safe country.
This was the focus as a strategic stakeholders engagement for the sustainable practice of safety management in Nigeria organised by the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria, (ISPON).
According to the Chairman, House Committee On Safety Standards And Regulations, Hamza Ibrahim, represented by his Vice-Chairman, Sam Chinedu Onwuazo, with an ISPON act enacted in 2014, the Committee in the discharge of its task, commenced a series of interactive sessions with critical stakeholders, whose presentations were insightful, revealing, shocking and disturbing; scenarios that reflect the poor state of compliance to safety legislation and rules across most sectors.
He said, “Having examined the enormity of the work before us, we have initiated a phased process for interaction, investigation, audit, reporting, follow up and intervention. We are also demanding a more robust approach to safety management from both government and private organisations with a view to improving our poor international ranking.
“Safety Management in Nigeria has been hindered by a lot of factors which include, lack of competence, poor reporting of incidents, lack of credible data, focus on revenue, unprofessional conducts, focus on hazard allowances and not a safe workplace by workers or unions, unfair rivalry, employment of quacks, monitoring and enforcement lapses, incident cover-up, and many more.”
He added that Nigerians deserve a safe and healthy workplace and environment, devoid of hazards or where elimination seems impossible, reduced to as low as reasonably practicable.
National President of the institute, Mr. Kaizer Ebiwari noted that safety professionals are operating in a diverse and not coordinated mode, which is not healthy for safety to thrive. Hence, strategic stakeholder engagement is about building an understanding of the culture of safety, including stakeholder mapping and analysis, building safety relationships based on trust and transparency and ensuring consistency in stakeholder safety engagement, communication and setting standards of safety in Nigeria.
A member of the House, representing Zango Kataf/Jaba Constituency in Kaduna State, Amos Gwamna Magaji, said, “We are sponsoring a bill now that safety should be a part of the curriculum in our basic education; from primary and secondary schools.
“The problem is that people are not exposed and knowledgeable about safety until they get to the workplace, but we want safety to be an integral part of life. I am also proposing another bill that for every building to be approved, it must go through a safety professional. As much as the architect is after the esthetic part of the building, it is necessary for it to be certified safe for habiting.”