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12.10.2013 Editorial

Workplace Safety

By Daily Guide
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The gory accident, which claimed the life of a certain David Amedzro, 41, a few days ago, was not only melancholic but one which exposes the dangers workers are exposed to at their workplaces.

It also shows how we, as a people, are not abreast with best practices as they obtain elsewhere in the world. Many injuries and even deaths could have been avoided if standard safety precautions such as wearing appropriate apparel, footwear and eyeglasses and others were operative.

The strict enforcement of workplace safety precautions appear to be limited to foreign construction companies where it is common to read safety warnings such as 'do not go beyond this point without a helmet or hard shoes,' among others.

In our local companies however, the reverse is the order. It is common to see workers, mostly labourers at dizzying heights without helmets and even appropriate shoes; yet their superiors on the sites do nothing about the lapses by way of enforcing safety regulations.

It is time the statutes that seek to ensure the safety of workers applied to the letter so that our compatriots are not disadvantaged when they work at high altitudes.

It is saddening when workers, who are already poorly remunerated, get maimed or even killed at their workplaces with the high probability of receiving little or even nothing by way of compensation from their employers who are more concerned about the output of their employees than their welfare and safety.

It is our position that employers of labour must be compelled to provide safety apparels and materials such as helmets and boots to their workers, especially on construction sites.

We ask that such sites be subjected to periodic inspections by state inspectors from the appropriate sector ministry.

We are aware that relevant statutes on ensuring the safety of workers exist in the books, yet accidents continue to take their toll on workers in varying forms.

Many Ghanaians, especially workers on construction sites, are ignorant of the laws which seek to protect them against unexpected accidents.

When such mishaps—some of them very serious and even fatal—occur, those culpable are let off the hook because the victims are ignorant about the legal recourse.

We cannot understand why motorcyclists, without helmets, are stopped and arrested by law enforcement agents, yet workers on construction sites are given free range to ply their trade with nobody paying attention to their safety.

We can bet that the family of the late David Amedzro would not even know what constitutes an appropriate compensation for them unless someone draws their attention to the need to engage the services of a lawyer.

They might even not understand the importance of such an action or even have the financial muscle to embark on the expensive legal journey.


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