Health OSH Workshop Government to establish Occupational Safety and Health authority
5/7/2012 7:31:07 PM -
Tamale, May 7, GNA -Government would soon establish an authority on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) to police and implement the pending draft National Occupational Safety and Health Policy (NOSHP).
The NHOSP is expected to serve as a model guideline for adoption across all major sectors of the economy to ensure safe and healthy workplace programmes and further encourage more investments in the health, well-being and safety of employers, employees as well as communities where they operate.
Mr Antwi-Boasiako Sekyere, Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, speaking at a day consultative forum on the NOSHP in Tamale on Monday, said the authority would have regional offices to implement the tenets of the NHOSP.
The meeting seeks to solicit the views of workers and other players in the sector to make input into the NHOSP to be passed by parliament.
He said he considered workplace safety, healthy working environment and well-being of workers as one of the critical sector priorities, which had the potential of contributing to the overall economic growth of the country.
Currently he said, the nation only had a flagship of legislations initiated in the 1970s which was obsolete, hence the need to develop a national policy to be in tune with the international standards.
'There have been many industrial accidents which the media highlighted and the ministry could not do much due to the absence of the requisite regulation', he said.
Mr Sekyere said in spite of the huge benefits of ensuring sound occupational health and safety, the country was saddled with a myriad of challenges, most of which were taken for granted either out of ignorance or the blatant refusal to invest in safety.
Some of the work-related hazards are exposure to loud noise and excessive vibration, handling of hazardous chemicals without adequate protection, working under conditions of poor lightening and sometimes working with exposed and faulty electrical connections.
Others are instances of gas explosions in various areas of the country which did not affect only workers but also innocent passers-by resulting in fatalities, deaths and loss of properties.
Mr Samuel Nii Tettey, a consultant taking participants through the content of the NHOSP, said insanitary workplace conditions such as the effect of chemicals, lack of safety tools, poor toilet facilities, lack of potable water would be addressed with the passage of the regulation.
He said the challenge of workers not reporting cases of occupational hazards due fear of losing their jobs would be a thing of the past.
Mr Tettey said under the NHOSP, workers would be required to collaborate with employers to help prevent accidents while employers would be required to provide the necessary equipment and tools to safgured the safety of workers.
'Under the policy, workers will be required to form safety committees to resolve casualty cases that will crop up, as well as report to the National Occupational Safety and Health Authority', he said.