• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Safety at work: NSITF conducts over 5,000 workplace inspections in 1 year

Experts urge organisations to imbibe safety as a culture

The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has called for proactive measures to safeguard the safety and well-being of workers in the face of climate change.

The Fund noted that it has in pursuit of the Safety at Work Agenda, conducted 5,592 occupational safety and health activities at various work places across the nation in the last one year.

In an address to mark the 2024 World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the Managing Director of the NSITF, Maureen Allagoa Esq said the agency is fully committed to creating safe, healthy, and sustainable workplaces for all Nigerian workers.

She said, “The prevention of workplace accidents through a robust occupational safety and health(OSH) programmes is the first step in the dynamic processes of the Employees’ Compensation. OSH is the primary charge in our responsibilities as the nation’s apex social security organisation. And we have pursued this life-saving process with all vigour since I assumed office about a year ago. The reason is that a well-managed NSITF anchors strongly on accident prevention rather than on rehabilitation, payment of claims, or compensations, which may be inversely proportional to the failure of occupational safety activities. Our target, therefore, is to intensify efforts and double the figure by this time next year.

“ Broken down, this figure shows that between May 2023 to April 2024, our agency which is ever committed to the improvement of safety and health in the world of work, conducted a total of 3234 occupational health and safety audit, a total of 1614 awareness and enlightenment campaigns, and 744 follow-up on cases in various workplaces across the federation, using our 12 regional and 57 branch offices. We are geared to do more.”

On the theme of this year’s event, which centres on the impacts of climate change on occupational safety and health, Allagoa said that while focus has been on the environmental and humanitarian impacts, it is crucial to recognize that climate change also poses significant challenges to occupational safety and health.

“Climate change affects workplaces in various ways, including excessive heat, increased exposure to extreme weather events, Ultra-Violent radiation, vector-borne diseases, agrochemicals, air pollution, as well as changes in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters.

“These environmental shifts jeopardize the physical well-being of workers and impact their mental health and overall productivity. Moreover, numerous health challenges are linked to climate change, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory illnesses, and mental health disorders.”

She therefore said the NSITF as the custodian of workplace safety and health has already adopted proactive measures to tackle these challenges head-on. “This calls for a multidisciplinary approach that integrates environmental sustainability with occupational health and safety practices,” she added.

To fully achieve this, she said the NSITF has through its OSH officers nationwide prioritized prevention through education and training, raising awareness about the potential hazards associated with climate change while providing workers with the necessary knowledge and skills to identify risks and take appropriate precautions.

In specifics, the Managing Director said the Fund’s OSH officers have been creating awareness on the impacts of climate change in workplaces, sensitising workers on safety measures, and the use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the prevention of disease and illnesses.

Other efforts include identifying potential hazards at workplaces , training workers on first aid treatment and response to emergencies, investigating causes of workplace accidents so as to forestall re-occurrence, recommending safety standards and leading the vanguard of tree planting campaign to reduce greenhouse effects.

She further urged employers of labour in the formal and informal sector to invest in the development of resilient infrastructure and protective equipment to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events and environmental hazards. She observed that this measure should include the implementation of robust emergency response plans and ensuring that workplaces can withstand the challenges posed by climate change.

Some of the big employers of labour which have benefited from the concerted OSH activities of the NSITF in the period under review according to the statistics from the Fund’s Head of Department of Health Safety and Environment, Ijeoma Okeke includes Schulmberger , Port Harcourt , Julius Berger Construction Company, Abuja, Dangote Cement Bagging and Packaging, Kogi State, Shellberge Manufacturing , Lagos, Federal Palace Hotel , Ikoyi Lagos among hundreds of other companies in the formal and informal sectors.

The climax of the event came with the ceremonial tree planting at the premises of the Fund by the Managing Director, assisted by officers from the Abuja Environmental Protection Board . The activities ended with a road show to create awareness and the distribution of free waste bins at different business locations in the FCT.