Business News of Tuesday, 10 March 2015
Source: Graphic Online
A conference aimed at promoting health and safety compliance in the extractive industry is scheduled to take place in Takoradi from March 18 to 20, 2015.
The annual conference being organised by the Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STCCI) is dubbed, “Ghana Extractive Industry Safety Conference, (GEISC),” and has the theme, “driving industry excellence through health and safety.”
The conference will provide a platform fors, both local and international comapnies, to share experiences, knowledge, innovations and plans on occupational health and safety, environment standards and quality.
The programme is being supported by the GRAPHIC BUSINESS.
Speaking at the media launch in Accra, the Chairman of the STCCI, Mr Ato Van-Ess said the conference has the central objective of identifying new trends, standards, innovations, risks and opportunities in health and safety in the extractive industry.
“Assessment of health and safety issues and their impact on emerging economies will be another focal point. It will be a platform for analysing and developing evidences to advocate for the promulgation of the necessary policies and laws for occupational health and safety in Ghana,” he said.
The conference, he also explained would further provide networking opportunities for over 200 participating companies with the biggest players in the extractive industry.
Giving highlights of the conference, Mr Van-Ess said there would be an international, national and industry speakership, networking dinner, business gala for business executives and a technical trip to the Ghana Gas facility at Atuabo.
He said that out that Ghana as a country had no safety culture and as a result, local businesses especially the micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) did not have safety systems in place.
According to him, it was very usual to see institutions to break health and safety rules and expose their employees to some hazards, thereby breaching their “duty of care” to the employees. Individual employees also compromise their own safety at their work place by acting “unsafely.”
As a result, most local Ghanaian businesses are unable to secure contracts in the oil, gas and mining industries.
“Conformity to health, safety, environment and quality standards has therefore become an entry barrier to local Ghanaian business from entering into the extractive industry’s supply. At best, most local businesses are only able to access peripheral jobs or contracts with very low monetary values from sub-contractors,” he said.
He added, “the situation on the ground obviously makes the achievement of provisions in the oil, gas and mining local content laws very difficult.”
Mr Van-Ess also advised that considering the rapid development of high-risk extractive industries in the Western Region, it was vital for all businesses especially SMEs to build the right awareness and competences in health, safety, environment and quality issues so they can deliver to industries without harming people or the environment.
“If our developmental agenda is to be realised, then we need to build a safety culture paradigm that is proactive and holistic in nature. This could be achieved through advocacy to ensure appropriate policies for occupational health and safety, enforcement, education and encouraging employers and employees to purse safety,” he added.