By Bimbola Oyesola
The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has charged employers of labour on the importance of having and practicing safety in workplaces.
Speaking during the fund’s sensitisation programme, regional manager, Lagos office, Abdul-Lateef Musa, said workplaces with positive health and safety culture make workers feel more comfortable to raise concerns about their challenges.
The fund has embarked on a road show to sensitise and educate the general public on the need of safety in the workplace, in commemoration of World Day of Safety and Health at Workplace, marked every April 28.
Musa who emphasised the theme “Enhancing Social Dialogue Towards a Culture of Safety and Health,” quoted the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which estimated that workplaces that promote workers’ engagement while implementing a positive occupational health and safety culture had 64 per cent fewer safety incidents and 58 per cent fewer hospitalisation.
According to him, there is need for management to be more proactive in providing solutions to the problems.
“Today is not about compensation, it is about prevention. It is to prevent occurrence of accident and injury at the workplace and to create a safe work environment,” he said.
At organisational level, the regional manager expressed the belief that it was essential to foster preventive safety and health culture through occupational safety and health (OSH) compliance and implementation of OSH management system with a change in culture.
In the Employee Compensation Scheme (ECS), he said: “There is still low patronage on the ECS compared to the large workforce in the country. The fund is carrying more awareness campaigns through various media, workshops and seminars to enlighten employers on the need to key into the scheme.
“Most organisations are too careless when it comes to safety. It is only when things happen that we begin to run helter skelter. Let it be part of our policy and culture to put necessary measures in place.
“On government side, the ECS began implementation since 2011 and covers all Nigerian workers. But today’s awareness campaign is to avoid hazards at the workplace. Employers should put it as part of their work environment culture. It is better to prevent rather than coming for compensation. Our aim is to achieve zero accident at the workplace.
In the same vein, deputy general manager, administration, NSITF, Agboma Okoroafor, while commemorating the day, encouraged organisations to imbibe the culture of safety in their workplace by ensuring that safety procedures are in place and strictly adhered to.
She added that, while the NSITF seeks to provide social security protection and safety nets for all Nigerians against deprivation and income security in accordance with ILO Conventions and other world best practices, the Fund would continue to ensure proper social dialogue towards a culture of safety and health in the workplaces.