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06.09.2005 General News

Timber & Woodworkers Union expresses concern

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Sunyani (B/A), Sept. 6, GNA - Mr. Joshua Ansah, General Secretary of Timber and Woodworkers Union of the Trades Union Congress on Monday noted that the ignorance of most workers of the Union about health and safety issues of their operations had made them vulnerable to accidents and illnesses.

Speaking at the opening of a three-day Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE) National Training workshop for newly elected officers of the Union at Sunyani, Mr. Ansah urged managements of timber companies run education programmes on safety for their workers. The workshop is organised by the National Secretariat of the Union and sponsored by the Geneva-based International Federation of Building and Woodworkers (IFBWW).

Twenty-two participants, selected from some timber firms in Brong Ahafo, Western and Ashanti regions, including machine operators, storekeepers, clerks, secretarial staff, were attending. Mr. Ansah expressed the hope that the long-term objective of the workshop would be achieved at the end of the project to make workplaces safe, workers safety conscious and the environment safe to live and work.

He noted that most employers in the timber industry were apathetic to OHSE standards and the management of the national union was concerned about the plight of their workers.

The timber industry contributes six percent of the national Gross Domestic Product and 11 percent of foreign exchange. Later, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr. Ansah said IFBWW had since 1997 supported the Union to plant 240 hectares of economic trees at Kokoago in Wenchi district of Brong-Ahafo as a practical demonstration of the Union's contribution towards the national forestation programme.