The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has disclosed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a new national policy on Occupational Safety and Health during its latest (15th) Virtual meeting.
The Minister said the council meeting presided over by Muhammadu Buhari approved the policy to serve as an instrument that will ensure the safety of workers at their workplaces in the country.
According to him, FEC acted on the constitutional prerogative derived from the 1999 Constitution and the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) convention that demands the authority of the country to ensure the wellbeing of workers in their place of work.
While Ngige was briefing the State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, he said, “The Federal Executive Council today approved a new policy on occupational safety and health 2020. This policy is designed to make for the safety and health of workers at workplaces.”
“It derives from the main ground norm law of the 1999 constitution as amended, which in section 17 (3c) prescribes that the Nigerian State shall make laws and bye-laws for the preservation of the health and well-being of workers in the workplaces; men and women at work.”
“It also derives from the ILO convention 155, which Nigeria has also domesticated. Again, that talks about making the workplace conducive and ensuring the health and well-being of workers”.
In his words, the honourable minister also revealed that the new policy will be reviewed in three years.
He noted that the last policy on Occupational Safety was approved in 2006, opining that the new policy will consider the development and growth in technology and methodology that workplaces have witnessed in the last 14 years.
He said, “The last policy was approved in 2006 which makes it exactly 14 years since that was approved by the Federal Executive Council and that is the policy we have been working on.”
“But you know that 14 years is a long span in the life of any law so, in the course of operation, certain issues have been thrown up, the world has gone digital, workplace mechanism and hazards have been changing and it was, therefore, necessary that we do a new policy.”
“This policy we did now is what you call to repeal and replace and it takes care of all that is needed for now, for the health of Nigerian workers,” he said.
Chris Ngige assured that the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Health have defined roles.
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