Experts want more attention on occupational hazard

Senator Chris Ngige

Chris Ngige

Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment

The Director of Kwara Fire Service, Mr Abdulwaheed Yakub, on Monday, joined other experts to underscore the need for employers and employees to pay adequate attention to matters of safety of workers.

Yakub made the call in commemoration of the 2019 World Day for Health and Safety at Work, in Ilorin, reiterating that safety is very important and no sacrifice is too great to achieving it.

He added that the importance of safety was the reason for inviting employers of labour from both the public and private sectors to this year’s celebration.

“We were supposed to celebrate the World Day for Health and Safety at Work yesterday (Sunday, April 28) as it is done annually, but it was shifted until today (Monday) to accommodate everyone.

“Many companies, government organisations, private sectors and other employers of labour were invited for this year celebration, for them to learn the importance of safety

“Every office must have safety facilities, including free health insurance scheme to help and encourage workers.

“Employers should also provide safety measures for their workers and any employer who refused to do so should be sanctioned,” Yakub said.

Similarly, Prof. Solomon Olayinka of Ladoke Akintola University of Science and Technology (LAUTECH) in Oyo State, urged government, in particular, to be more committed to the safety of its workforce.

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“One of the importance of today’s celebration is for the employees to be sensitized on the importance of their safety and also know their rights through sensitisation programmes or through their labour unions.

“So, there is need for more research to enable us get to the roots of the problems and unearth solutions,” he said.

As for Dr Ajakaye Adam of the National Institute of Labour Studies, Ilorin, most employers are not really bothered about the safety of their employees and that is why the day is commemorated to sensitise workers on their right of safety.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said that the annual commemoration for the World Day for Safety and Health at work globally was aimed at preventing occupational accidents and diseases, essentially through advocacy and public sensitisation.

“This is in view of the alarming statistics that indicate that each year, 2.78 million workers die from occupational accident and work related diseases, while additional 374 million workers suffer from non-fatal occupational accidents.

“The economic cost of these figures was enormous and unquantifiable.

“It is also quite tragic and regrettable, considering that such immeasurable human suffering and catastrophes caused by poor occupational safety and health practices and condition were largely preventable,” he said.