Business News of Saturday, 6 May 2017
Government has been urged to consider the national bill on Occupational, Safety and Health (OSH) that seeks to cure challenges on safety especially in the extractive industry.
“Currently, we have a fragmented system – for instance in the mines sector, we have the inspectorate of Minerals Commission handling mines safety and on factory we have the Factory Inspectorate but when it comes to forestry, agriculture, tourism among others they are not covered under safety” Mr. Samuel Kwoffie, Vice President of Ghana Institute of Safety and Environmental Professionals (GhISEP) said.
He explained that the national bill that is coming up seeks to bring all these institutions together to have one commission – “this commission will be in charge of safety across board, we will also have a national system for recording and reporting incidence irrespective of the industry when an incident happens, you have to report to the district office through to the national level”.
“We believe when the government looks at this bill, send it to parliament and it becomes an Act, it will be a major boost for the industry and the country as a whole” he said. Mr. Kwoffie was speaking in an interview with the B&FT during the World Safety Day 2017 celebration at Tarkwa in the Western Region on the theme “optimize the collection and use of occupational safety and health data”.
“For us as a professional body, we have to constantly engage the government to make this bill an Act – we are losing business because of fire, and other accident because safety has not been adhered to in the country- this, has to be a journey, plan and supported by resources for us to get there” he added.
Ing. Joe-Steve Annan, Safety Lead Consultant of Attann Solutions called for awareness creation and strategy to make laws on safety work in the country.
He said companies need to report all accident that occurs on the field for the institution in charge of safety to get the correct data – as professionals, we need to exhibit safety which is a way of life wherever we are” he said
“As a country, he noted that we do not have a national system for recording and notification of occupational accidents and diseases except for certain industries such as the mining sector” he said.
He urged institutions to put systems in place to prevent accident – if it does occur, you have to learn and put systems and understand the matters by getting to the bottom and encouraged all safety professionals to come together to ensure safety at all levels.
Dr. Samuel Ndur, Head of Department -Safety and Environmental Engineering at the University of Mine’s and Technology (UMaT) added that the International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) campaign for the 2017 World Day for Safety and Health at work focuses on the critical need for countries to improve their capacity to collect and utilize reliable occupational safety and health data.
Therefore, he said, there is the need to have a national system that covers all branches of economic activity all enterprises and all workers regardless of their status in employment- as safety professionals let us record all incidents being injury, occupational illness, damage equipment or property.
Also, he said there is the need to provide appropriate information to workers including contractors concerning the system for reporting- ensure appropriate maintenance of these records and their use for the establishment of preventive measures.
“Let us all be safety ambassadors and encourage individuals and companies to observe the best safety practices- our interventions are important to help save lives and property” he said.