NSITF Focuses on Impact of Climate Change on Workplace Safety 

  • Conduct 5,592 workplace inspections

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

As part of efforts to ensure safety and health of workers, the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has said it is adopting a multidisciplinary approach that integrates environmental sustainability with occupational health and safety practices.

In a bid to enhance workplace safety, the Fund’s Managing Director, Maureen Allagoa, said that NSITF has conducted 5,592 occupational safety and health advocacy activities at various work places across the nation in the last one year. 

According to the Fund, climate change currently 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. 

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

“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 said 

A statement by the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Nwachukwu Godson, quoted the MD as having said that NSITF has adopted proactive measures to tackle these challenges head-on. 

“Allagoa canvassed 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.

She called on companies and organisations to take proactive measures to safeguard the safety and well-being of workers in the face of climate change. 

In specifics, the managing director said the Fund’s OSH officers have been creating awareness on the impacts of climate change in workplaces, sensitizing 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. 

The MD said that NSITF has conducted 5,592 occupational safety and health advocacy activities at various work places across the nation in the last one year. 

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 3,234 occupational health and safety audit, a total of 1,614 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.

 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.

Allagoa carried out the ceremonial tree planting at the premises of the Fund assisted by officers from the Abuja Environmental Protection Board. 

There was also a road show to create awareness and the distribution of free waste bins at different business locations in the FCT.

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