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Experts emphasize on the need for workplace safety and well-being

 

Experts have expressed the need to create awareness and increase advocacy on safety in the workplace to promote wellbeing and productivity.

This was the main thrust of discussions at the 8th annual colloquium organised by The Safety Advocates in memory of a safety icon, Dr. Bamisayo Oluwagbemi with the theme, ‘Redefining Safety Culture: Institutional and Legal Approach for Safer Workplace’. The event held recently at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Ikeja.

In a keynote address delivered by the Director General, Lagos Safety Commission, Lanre Mojola, he noted that redefining safety culture through institutional and legal approaches is a critical step towards ensuring safety in the workplace.

“Safety culture is not just about compliance with regulations but also involves creating an environment where employees are encouraged to report unsafe conditions and near-misses without fear of retaliation.” He listed institutional approaches which promote safety in the workplace as creating a safety committee that is responsible for identifying potential hazards and developing strategies to mitigate them.

“It also involves regular training of employees on how to identify hazards and how to respond in case of an emergency. Employers should understand that building strong relationships where employees believe that they can have honest conversations when safety issues arise and for purposes of feedback contribute to ensuring that safety becomes an integral part of the daily activities in their organisations.”

Mojola advised that organisations should adopt approaches to safety that think about incidents before they occur rather than reacting to work-related accidents.

The National Coordinator, The Safety Advocates Group, and CEO, Hybrid Group, Dapo Omolade, described the late Oluwagbemi as the foremost health and safety practitioner in Nigeria.

“We are sending the message out that what Dr. Oluwagbemi stood for was a safe society and to make safety a way of life. Hence, you have approached safety from legal, home, and health perspectives. A lot of people still don’t know a lot about safety and so it is important for everyone to embrace the way of life – safety.”

Experts emphasize on the need for workplace safety and well-being
Experts emphasize on the need for workplace safety and well-being

The Executive Director, Strategy, and Safety Advocates, Jamiu Badmos, affirmed that Oluwagbemi was the first to be chartered as an Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (ISOH) member who brought safety to the limelight.

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In line with the theme of the event, Badmos noted: “There is a health and safety policy, but today, the law in use is the Factory Act 2004 which is obsolete. “Everywhere in the world, people are transforming their safety policy, hence since 2008, we have been begging the successive government to have operational Health and Safety Act which will put in place leadership commitment.

“I use this medium to call on the government to quickly have an executive bill on Occupational Health and Safety and let the National Assembly quickly approve it so we don’t lose more lives in Nigeria. Look at our roads and factories, people are dying and when one person dies, you have also killed all the dependents of the person.”

The CEO, SafetyPlus, Mrs. Dominga Odebunmi stressed that a positive safety culture at a workplace is when workers are enlightened to the point that they can freely report a hazard without fear of victimisation.

“Workers understand the process of accident prevention and are empowered to stop a potential danger. Hence, having risk awareness, fair and just culture, inclusiveness, management commitment, and accountability are key to embracing positive safety culture,” she said.

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