The Society of Occupational and Environmental Health Physicians of Nigeria (SOEHPON) expressed concerns on Thursday about the negligence of occupational and environmental safety standards in workplaces.
According to SOEHPON, this disregard has led to numerous preventable incidents resulting in the loss of lives in Nigeria.
The organization emphasized that prioritizing safety in the workplace would not only save lives but also enhance productivity and contribute to the country’s development.
During a workshop held at the Civic Center in Lagos, safety experts from the organization aimed to foster a positive cultural change.
The workshop, titled “The Power of the Media to Change Occupational Health and Safety Landscape in Nigeria,” sought to engage the media in advocacy efforts.
It shed light on the hazards associated with unhealthy work environments and provided guidance on risk prevention in the workplace.
In August 2023, the unfortunate death of Dr. Vwaere Diaso due to a faulty elevator at the General Hospital Odan in Lagos Island sparked widespread concern.
Dr. Musa Shaibu, the President of SOEHPON, described occupational health as a specialized field within medicine.
He noted that only the oil and gas sector in the country demonstrated some semblance of adhering to health and safety standards.
Shaibu highlighted that many other sectors exposed workers to daily risks in unregulated environments.
He stressed the importance of maintaining a balance between health and the workplace to promote productivity.
“The workplace, including everyday settings like kitchens, schools, hospitals, offices, and markets, presents health-related situations that must not be overlooked,” Shaibu remarked.
He underlined that society has paid a high price for neglecting health and safety in the workplace and that mere lip service is insufficient in the digital age.
The collaboration between SOEHPON and the media aims to drive this message home and raise awareness among all segments of society for positive change.
Shaibu called for the introduction of regulatory acts by the National Assembly to enforce necessary measures that discourage harmful practices.
Professor Folashade Omokhodion, another executive of SOEHPON, highlighted the organization’s responsibility to make a significant impact in the country’s safety landscape and preserve lives.
As physicians managing workplace-related health issues, the campaign aims to create awareness and prevent actions that lead to illness and disease.
Omokhodion expressed concern about workplaces heavily exposed to chemicals where workers operate without the necessary safety equipment, putting them at risk of terminal illnesses.
She praised the efforts of the Lagos State Government in combating noise pollution and urged other states to follow suit, aiming for a healthy workforce and improved productivity.
A safeguarded workplace leads to decreased sickness, reduced absenteeism, minimized productivity losses, and enhanced worker motivation, she concluded.