Gov't to prioritise Occupational Safety and Health

The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), Mr. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, has reiterated government’s commitment to assuring that workers’ right to a safe and healthy environment is guaranteed.


The Minister gave the assurance last Friday when he addressed participants at the International Day for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in Accra under the theme ‘Safety and Health and the Future of Work’.


“Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) remains a priority not only to the government but workers and employers as well,” he said.


He added: “The theme for this year’s celebration is more than apt and fit for the occasion. This is because the world of work is changing at a faster rate with the influx of modern technology, artificial intelligence, and intellect among other things.


“These innovations come with their own hazards and deficiencies and we cannot be oblivious of the accidents and injuries it may pose to our labour force.”


Therefore, a draft bill on OSH has been presented to cabinet and a review of the current Factories, Offices and Shops Act, 1970 (Act 328) is underway to provide a unified approach towards the implementation of the bill, he said.


Mr. Baffour-Awuah gave the assurance that once technical work on the draft was completed and sent to the cabinet and approved, the bill would be passed.


The OSH Bill, when passed, would ensure that a unified standard for all workers is enforced at various workplaces and sites across the country.


The Minister enjoined employees to advocate safety among their peers at their various workplaces, since ensuring health and safety is a responsibility not only of government and employers but employees as well.


For his part, Mr. Andrew Tagoe, the Deputy General Secretary of General Agricultural Workers’ Union (GAWU) of TUC, called on the government to ratify the International Labour Organization (ILO) convention 155 to establish a regulatory body to implement OSH standards.


“The Statistics are so alarming that we have no choice than to call on the government to treat Occupational Safety, Health and Environment as a national emergency to implement robust systems and policies that will halt the canker.”


Mr. Tagoe also stressed on the need to empower the Department of Factories Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to intensify its inspection at various workplaces across the country.


The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is held on 28 April to promote safe, healthy and decent work.


This year the event was held by the Ministry in collaboration with the Volta River Authority (VRA) to honour lives lost as a result of injuries and fatalities at work and to deliberate on the relationship between workers and their environment as well as to promote a culture of preventive safety and health.


Source: ISD (Juliana Benefo Akyea)

Created: 03 May 2019
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