Business News of Sunday, 29 September 2019
The Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (STCCI)’s annual Ghana Industry Safety Conference (GHISCON) 2019 has ended in Takoradi.
The 2 days Conference this year, examined the impact of climate change on occupational health and safety and also advanced strategies for reducing its impact on the safety and health of workers.
It was themed “Climate change and occupational health and safety”.
The Conference was to encourage all stakeholders concerned, to as a matter of urgency integrate the impact of climate change in their occupational risk assessment approaches.
It main focus was centred on regulatory reforms, legislation and compliance as issues of climate change and it associated weather-related hazards at the workplace kept increasing.
Guidelines for working at height under uncertain climatic conditions, skin safety for outdoor workers, technology and continuous improvement for emergency response plans as well as managing occupational heat stress and productivity amongst other educative topics were treated at the 2019 GHISCON.
Mr Ato Van-Ess, Chairman of STCCI in his welcome address noted that a number of activities undertaken by industry players and the citizenry significantly impacted negatively the welfare of workers and the environment at large.
“A combination of ignorance, apathy and sheer malice have contributed to the growing danger that each of us faces as we go about our daily activities; climate change is real and we are all affected by the negative effects of climate change,” he said.
According to him Africa and for that matter, Ghana is mostly hit by natural disaster; the devastation experienced in Africa and the world’s poorest countries is borne out of the unpreparedness and the absence of mitigating actions in the event of such disasters.
Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations who was the guest of honour pointed out that climate change had sequential effect on the job that is being delivered on the job market and that climate change issues, should be taken seriously and hence the need for companies and individuals to think ahead on new technological ways of doing things and further called for strict adherence to safety issues.
The Employment and Labour Relations Minister, hinted, at the Conference, that government is planning to adopt a climate-friendly urban transport sector saying “ ….London has a more eco-friendly urban transport system compared to what we have……as part of our policy going forward between 2020 and 2030 we are trying to have a more sustainable eco-friendly urban transport system that will take away most of these vehicles which increase emissions and reduce carbon emissions in the country”.
Kwasi Twum Addo, Head of Health, Safety, Security and Environment(HSSE) at the Ministry of Energy mentioned that the Ministry of Energy, as part of its effort in meeting the protocols under the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is implementing a Climate Change Smart Energy Action Plan (CC-SEAP) which seeks to integrate energy sector issues in the protocols into the country’s energy sector activities.
“In this regard, our energy sector regulators, agencies and service providers are being encouraged to implement climate change mitigating actions that are reported periodically for publication and transmission to appropriate national and international agencies responsible for collating such information and data,” he said.
The action plan, he said is aimed at minimize greenhouse gas emissions from energy sector activities through the introduction of cleaner fuels and reducing end-use consumption by improving on efficiencies of appliances as well as making renewable energy more prominent in the energy mix through legislation.
He pointed out that serious energy sector accidents have usually occurred with very little investigations undertaken from an energy delivery perspective since the national reputation has very often overwhelmed the service delivery component.
That means, he said national security has dominated in the investigations and very little space has been given to energy sector agencies to tag along; key learning points to help make paradigm shifts have not been availed to the industry.
To address this shortfall, he added that the Ministry of Energy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some ministries such as Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation as well as Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations for accident investigation and implementation of recommendations.
Dr Tony Aubynn, Convenor of the conference lauded the organiser’s STCCI, for the theme “climate change and occupational health and safety” adding that climate change is no longer the figment of anybody’s imagination; “this is pure science, 90% of studies conducted says climate change is caused by the activities of the individual which brings negative impact on the individuals.
He thus urged all participants and industry players to come out with solutions that would help mitigate climate change which is no longer a fight for the Western World but all.
The two-day conference, had the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, International Labour Organization, Republic Bank (Ghana) Limited, Hamburg Chamber of Commerce (HKH),
Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago as well as Houston Area Safety Council (HASC),
BAJ Freight and Hybrid Group a Nigerian Safety Company as well as DGM Ghana Limited as partners.