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There is need for consistent training and re-training of Safety Personnel– DG, NECA

Wale-Smatt Oyerinde the newly appointed Director General of the foremost Business Membership Organization in Nigeria- Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has worked in various capacities, with over 16-year experience in industrial/human resources, business development, stakeholders’ management and key areas of employers’ federation/business membership organisation management. Oyerinde is an HR thought-leader, an International Labour Organisation (ILO)-trained master trainer and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)-trained ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management System), ISO 1400:2015 Lead Auditor.

In this interview with HSENations, Mr. Oyerinde talks about NECA’s work in the area of Occupational Safety and Health, the awareness among Nigerian’s employer and its collaboration with the collaboration with the National Industrial Safety Council NISCN and Ministry of Labour and Employment.

HOW WELL IS NECA DOING IN AREA OF ADVOCACY FOR A SAFER WORKPLACE?
A safe workplace is beneficial to all stakeholders. Investing in safety is necessary to reduce costs associated with injuries, absenteeism, loss of productivity and many others. As the foremost Business Membership Organization in Nigeria, our commitment to responsible enterprise and safe workplace is absolute.
In our quest for promote a safe workplace and to create awareness of its benefit, we have over the years, collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the National Social Insurance Trust Fund on the Safe Workplace Intervention Project (SWIP). The Project sought to assess the rate of safety-consciousness and compliance to workplace safety rules by Employers. At the end of each exercise, those that demonstrated high safety-consciousness and compliance were publicly reward with safety equipment like Ambulances and commended while those identified to have gaps were trained to reduce incidences of accidents in their organisations.
Also, as a strong member of the International Labour Organization (ILO), we support the over 40 International Labour Standards specifically dealing with Occupational Safety and Health. And with Occupational Safety and Health joining the previous eight Core Conventions of the ILO as the ninth Core Convention, advocacy will definitely be stepped up to get all Stakeholders on board.

AS THE UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION FOR EMPLOYERS IN NIGERIA, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE RATE OF ACCIDENTS IN THE WORKPLACE IN NIGERIA?
While it might be difficult to give an accurate figure as some accidents might not be reported for various reasons, reports noted that over 2.78 million people die from occupational accidents and work-related diseases every year and an additional 374 million workers suffer from non-fatal occupational accidents. While these figures are the reported figures, we can rightly say that it could be more as many might not even be reported.

There is need for consistent training and re-training of Safety Personnel– DG, NECA
There is need for consistent training and re-training of Safety Personnel– DG, NECA

HOW CAN YOU RATE THE SAFETY CONSCIOUSNESS OF NIGERIAN EMPLOYERS AND WHAT DO YOU SEE AS CHALLENGES AND HOW CAN IT BE ADDRESSED?
We must say that the safety consciousness of Nigerian employers in the Organised Private Sector is growing. The Safe Workplace Intervention Project (SWIP) that I mentioned earlier upscaled the rate of awareness of employers and positioned them to be active players and participants in issues that concerns occupational health and safety.
Addressing occupational health issues require consistent awareness, increased capacity to prevent accidents and provision of requisite equipment. While awareness can be created through formal and informal media, purchasing equipment cannot. This requires huge financial commitment that some employers might not be able to bear. Furthermore, there is need for consistent training and re-training of Safety Personal. This what our current collaboration with the National Industrial Safety Council NISCN and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment hopes to achieve.

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TALKING ABOUT YOUR COLLABORATION, YOU HAVE A JOINT PROGRAM TAGGED ‘STEAMING THE HIGH RATE OF ACCIDENTS AND WORK-RELATED DISEASES IN THE WORKPLACE WITH NISCN AND THE MINISTRY OF LABOUR FROM AUGUST 11-12: WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS COURSE TO PARTICIPANTS?
The benefits of this collaboration are huge and varied. To mention just a few: Enlightenment about the National Policies and laws that govern safety; Increased motivation and commitment; Increased productivity; Increased awareness about safety and health issues; Reduced risk of accidents and Improved capacity for occupational safety and health compliance among others.

 

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