Put in place pragmatic measures to address stress levels of workers – Minister

By
Justina Paaga/ Crossland Asante Agyeman, GNA

Takoradi, Sept. 13, GNA – Mr Ignatius
Baffour-Awuah, Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, has said urgent
measures are required to address the stress levels of workers.

He said though a number of physical structures
were being put in place to avoid workplace accidents much has not been done to
address stress levels of workers which could result in emotional accidents.

The Minister said poor working conditions in
many work places in the country as a whole have resulted in the creation of
huge decent work deficits particularly in the informal sector which employs
about 88 percent of the labour force.

Mr Baffour-Awuah said this at the fourth  Ghana Extractive Industry Safety Conference
(GEISCO) organised by the Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(STCCI) in Takoradi under the theme: “Handling of Dangerous Goods: Global
Standards and Existing Practices in Ghana”.

The occasion was also used to launch the
change of name from Ghana Extractive Industry Safety Conference (GEISCO) to
Ghana Industry Safety Conference (GHISCON).

The change of name is to broaden the scope of
the conference beyond the extractive sector to encompass other occupational
health and safety issues in general.

The two –day conference was attended by
stakeholders from the Extractive Industry, Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana
Aviation Authority, Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Occupational Safety and
Health Association, International Labour Organization (ILO) and Financial
Institutions.

The goal was to among others educate them to
take concrete and significant steps towards building a health and safety
culture paradigm that is proactive and holistic in nature.

Mr Baffour-Awuah said safety and health
concerns within the extractive industry would remain a national priority,
noting that the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities and its
production since late 2010 has also added much impetus to the pursuit of the
country’s development.

The Minister said the workmen compensation
from the labour department covering 2015 to 2017 was a cause for discomfort to
both policy makers and industry players, adding that the Mining and Quarry
sub-sector recorded 552 accidents in 2015 of which 550 resulted in incapacity,
while two were fatalities with electricity /gas and water recording 218 cases
of which 216 were incapacity and two fatal cases.

He said in 2016 Mining and Quarry recorded 62
cases of incapacity and one fatal incident, while electricity /gas and water
recorded 219 cases with one fatal case, and that in 2017, mining and quarry
recorded eight cases resulting in incapacity, while electricity/gas and water
got 368 incapacity cases with two deaths.

Mr Baffour-Awuah said the cases have been
reported for claims at the labour department were on the unacceptable high side
and the industry must find ways to reduce the numbers.

Mr Ato Van-Ess, Chairman of the
Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said with GEISCON’s
increasingly high status as the biggest conversion for Occupation Safety and
Health (OHS) awareness and competence building in Ghana, STCCI was pleased to
celebrate the ushering in of Ghana industry safety conference (GHISCON).

He said Regulatory Agencies in the country
were under resourced to carry out their respective mandate, noting that, “the
inability of these agencies to perform their oversight responsibilities and
strictly enforce compliance at their respective sectors has brought untold
hardships, pain and suffering”.

“There are too many conditions and accidents
that have happened recently in Ghana that calls for collective action and many
of these tragedies are preventable through the implementation of sound
prevention, inspection and reporting practices”.

He called for the establishment of a Safety
and Health Authority and called for the creation of a fund to support SMEs to
build a sustainable Occupation Safety Health culture and management system in
the country.

GNA

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