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In Nigeria, workers’ safety has become a pressing issue as incidents in the workplace continue to claim lives. Mr. Dapo Omolade, the National Coordinator of The Safety Advocates, has highlighted the need for a legal instrument that empowers Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) professionals to implement safety in the workplace and society.

The current safety measures in place are no longer effective in protecting Nigerian workers. Mr. Omolade stated that “all manner of incident in the workplace that are not even necessary” lead to unnecessary loss of life. Work-related accidents, injuries, diseases, and deaths have far-reaching consequences for individuals, families, and communities.

Safety Advocate, Mr. Dapo Omolade
Dapo Omolade, Safety Advocate

 

In commemoration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, various activities were held across Nigeria, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing workers’ safety and health. However, much more needs to be done to ensure safe and healthy work environments for workers.

The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ms Kachollom Daju, called on organizations to redirect their attention towards ensuring that their employees work in safe and healthy environments. She highlighted the alarming statistic that 340 million occupational accidents occur worldwide yearly, and stressed the need for governments to implement safety policies to protect workers.

Similarly, the Director General of Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr. Lanre Mojola, emphasized that accidents can be prevented if proper measures are put in place, but it would require the concerted efforts of everyone involved. He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the occupational safety bill into law, stating that it would ensure that the safety and health of workers are given due attention by employers.

Mrs. Aderonke Odeneye, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, reinforced the need for a safe and healthy working environment. She stated that the bill needs to be signed into law to protect workers from injuries and diseases that could lead to death. The Executive Director of Safety Advocate, Engr. Jamiu Badmos, highlighted the domino effect of accidents on families and communities, emphasizing the need for everyone to work together to prevent them.

It is time for organizations to go beyond paying lip service to the issue of safety and health at work by implementing policies that ensure workers operate in safe and healthy environments. This can be achieved through regular training, provision of protective equipment, and adherence to laid down rules on safety measures in the workplace.

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work serves as a critical reminder that we need to prioritize workers’ safety and health at all times. It is not just a moral obligation but a legal requirement that cannot be ignored. The occupational safety bill needs to be signed into law to protect workers from unnecessary loss of life while on the job.

Prioritizing workers’ safety and health is not only a fundamental principle but also a right at work. It is imperative to strengthen occupational safety and health system resilience to face crises in the workplace. As we commemorate this day, let us all recommit ourselves to ensuring that every worker has access to a safe and healthy working environment. The need for a legal instrument that empowers OSH professionals cannot be overstated, and it is high time for the government to take action towards the safety and well-being of Nigerian workers.

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