The Society of Occupational and Environmental Health Physicians of Nigeria (SOEHPON) has called on the incoming 10th National Assembly (NASS) to enact appropriate laws that would support and facilitate the delivery of health and safety in the workplace.
The professional body made this appeal during a roadshow to mark the 2023 World Day for Safety and Health at Work, observed on April 28. It was on the theme: “A Safe And Healthy Working Environment is a Fundamental Principle and Right at Work”.
Speaking to journalists in Lagos, the President of SOEHPON, Dr Musa Shaibu, implored the incoming NASS to pass the Bill into an Act.
He emphasised: “This is one of the outdated labour laws currently pending at the National Assembly. This Bill needs to be urgently passed into an Act of the National Assembly to benefit every Nigerian.
“We, therefore, strongly recommend to the leadership of all organisations to emplace adequate support with unequivocal management commitment to promote and protect the health and safety of their workers.”
According to the SOEHPON president, the World Health Organisation and the International Labour Organisation recognise that people spend significant parts of their lives at work. “A healthy working population in a safe working environment is critical to a healthy and safe national population.”
Shuaibu cited WHO, which advocates that governments at all levels should work with employers to ensure that workplace programmes are implemented to protect the health, safety and well-being of their workers. “This is the right of all workers.”
The Director of Corporate Services Administration, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Juliet Okoro, insisted that safety is everyone’s business.
She added: “Our management is very concerned about workplace safety. Safety is our watchword in the PRC and the oil and gas industry. We have a safety booklet in the workplace. That is why the staff is always sensitised.”
Hence, she underscored the need for organisations to ensure the workplace is safe for their employees. “When they work in a safe environment, productivity will increase.”
While the Team Lead of Occupational Health Services, Medbury medical services, Dr Ofili Anthony, said the focus should be on occupational health and the provision of adequate medical support, the representative of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) highlighted the significance of safety even beyond the workplace.
“There is a need for safety on the road. Safety first, safety always. When we talk about driving, we encourage motorists to give 100 per cent concentration because that is what driving entails.
“People should be safety conscious from the highway to the workplace so that Nigeria can move forward,” says the Chief Route Commander of the representative of FRSC, Paul Abiti.
To further sensitise workers across Lagos state, SOEHPON, an umbrella professional body for all occupational health practitioners in the country, enlightened the public through handbills and large banners with inscriptions.