Mon, 15 Apr 2024 Article

A Reflection On Health And Safety

By Samuel k. Ankomah
A Reflection On Health And Safety

The tragic demise of Nollywood actor Junior Pope on April 11, 2024, while on a boat to a production site has brought attention to the critical importance of Health and Safety.

His untimely death, along with that of his colleagues, underscores the need for robust Health and Safety measures in all workplaces.

To begin with, all accidents arguably are preventable.

In preventing such occurrence a detailed investigation must look into the following without prejudice but in the interest of creating awareness, empowering and creating standardized Health and Safety systems in protecting lives and properties.

The State has a social contract to protect the safety, security and welfare of all citizens.

The current Health and Safety systems in place if any in terms of legislation, enforcement and its compliance must be reviewed in order to propose, amend and pass laws which adequately control risks that organizations including production houses and football teams expose their workers.

Legislation must take into account the protection of individual rights to work safely and punishment for organizations or persons who infringes on such rights in any shape or form.

State agencies must be adequately resourced to research, inspect, monitor and audit organizations Health and Safety performance to ensure compliance and system improvement in protecting lives and properties.

Organizations have the moral, legislative and financial obligation towards maintaining health and safety of their workers.

Organization not willing to appreciate and accept that, it is morally wrong to put others in a harm’s way or environment without controlling its associated hazards, including hiring an incompetent person to lead and transport crew members without safety measures make such an organization a high risk one.

Organization not ready to comply with Safety standards and laws but rather to compromise may put workers in a harm’s way. Enforcement by state agencies to issue penalties, prosecution at the court and close of business in safeguarding lives will be deterrent enough to those who want to preserve their goodwill and stay in business.

Any Organization which do not appreciate the need to spend on safety through trainings, programs, purchase or hiring of equipment and to consider any reasonable practical cost in protecting workers usually pay for it in a hard way. Accident and its associated cost of compensation to the family, production loss and damages can keep an organization away from business.

The behavior or act of persons in an organization also play a major role in protecting their lives and properties.

A person is responsible for his or her own safety. If a condition including lack of materials or safe equipment is absent, a person has the right to say no until conditions are improved. You may have the choice to act unsafely but don’t have a choice to determine the consequence.

Herbert William Heinrich, opined that, 80% of all accidents are caused by unsafe acts (such as using a boat without a life jacket and ignoring safety risk) of individuals, while 10% is attributed to unsafe conditions(such as defective boat or a hazardous environment) and 2% resulting from “acts of God”.

This statistics may be debatable but it gives credence to the fact that, individuals play a major role in protecting their lives.

In a circulating video, a popular Ghanaian actor and a Parliamentary Candidate, John Dumelo refused to board a canoe while in the company of other actors, raising safety concerns. His foresight to know that, regardless of other opinions, safety remains a priority is commendable and must be emulated. If it remains unsafe, it shouldn’t be done at all.

The people in the boat that capsized with life jackets survived. Certainly Safety isn’t a default but a conscious act to be free from injury or fatality.

It is abundantly clear that, people engage in unsafe acts because of ignorance or low risk perception.

To create awareness, educate and ensure adequate supervision by competent people after a careful risk assessment of all work activities by an organization will go a long way in improving the risk perception of workers prompting the need to only work when control measures are well communicated and implemented.

Government, Organizations and Individuals play a critical role in ensuring that, lives and properties are always protected.

It must be noted that if all systems fail, the individual must not fail or disappoint himself or herself by taking risk without adequate control measures.

Samuel k. Ankomah.
Safety Professional
[email protected]