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24.10.2008 Health

Manual on occupational safety and health launched

By gna

A manual to serve as a guide in the implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSHE) compliance by companies and institutions was launched in Accra on Friday with a call on employers to make the safety of their employees a priority.

“Employers are aware of economic impacts of job-related accidents and these accidents increase medical expenses, insurance premiums, property damages and production losses,” Mrs. Rose Karikari Annang, Executive Director of Ghana Employers' Association (GEA), said.

“But controlling safety and health hazards is becoming increasingly difficult because of the growing complexity of chemicals, materials, manufacturing processes and regulations,” she added.

Mrs Karikari Annang said most companies lacked safety and health facilities and though there were some laws binding occupational safety and health, the environment of enforcement and sanctions regime made it very difficult to be complied with.

She said since most employers needed assistance in identifying and correcting safety and health hazards in the workplaces, the manual would be used as a voluntary compliance schemes as the alternative to OSHE.

The manual, prepared by GEA with funds from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund with the aim of implementing OSHE compliance scheme at the workplaces for its members.

The scheme will also help employers to better manage safety and health conditions and reduce costs.

Mrs Karikari Annang noted that the scheme, which was independent of any governmental safety and health compliance or enforcement activity, will allow for the audit of OSHE and address gaps through capacity building.

Mr Charles Asante-Bempong, Project Manager of GEA, said the project targeted manufacturers, civil engineering, shipping and ports, hotel catering, tourism and agriculture.

He said there were many employees who had suffered permanent injuries due to the absence of occupational safety and health facilities at their workplaces.

“Collecting compensation will not amend the disability or bring the dead back to life. What we need is to put in place measures that will rather prevent such hazards.”

He called on GEA members to sign on to the project and enjoy the benefits of protecting their employees from hazards and improve productivity.