I am most grateful and highly honored to give this speech on the occasion of the national celebration of the world day for safety and health at work 2022.
The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is commemorated on 28 April of each year as a way of fostering a safe and healthy working environment and to protect all members of the general public who may be affected by the occupational environment
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen that having a strong OSH system, which includes meaningful participation of governments, employers, workers, public health actors and all relevant parties at the national and enterprise level, has been crucial in protecting working environments and safeguarding the safety and health of workers.
Through effective social dialogue, governments and social partners actively participate in all phases of OSH decision-making processes. This is important from the development and revision of OSH policy and regulatory frameworks to address persistent and new OSH challenges, to actual application at workplace level. Social dialogue not only contributes to improving OSH policies and strategies, but it is also essential to build ownership and commitment, easing the way for their rapid and more effective implementation.
At the workplace level, a strong OSH culture is one in which the right to a safe and healthy working environment is valued and promoted by both management and workers. A positive OSH culture is built on inclusion, through the meaningful involvement of all parties in the ongoing improvement of safety and health at work. In a workplace with a strong OSH culture, workers feel comfortable raising concerns about possible OSH risks or hazards in the workplace and management is proactive in collaborating with workers to find appropriate, effective and sustainable solutions. This requires open communication and dialogue built on trust and mutual respect.
As we continue to live through a global health crisis and face ongoing OSH risks in the world of work, we must continue to move toward building a strong safety and health culture at all levels.
Dialogue and Participation help to identify loopholes and gaps in the existing policies and regulations and their implementation. It also gives rise to stronger, more resilient policies and regulations, and implementation strategies that are worker oriented.
Employment coordinating committee has no safety representation.
Ghana is gradually becoming an industrialized nation and this change is exposing a large percentage of the work force to various health and safety hazards at the workplace.
The department of Factories inspectorate annual report of 2021 gives a total of 24 reported occupational accidents with 3 fatalities. These figures represent only those occurring in the formal sector and reported to the department.
The Preamble of the ILO Constitution highlights that the protection of the worker against diseases, sickness and injuries arising out of employment is a fundamental element of social justice. Occupational safety and health is a human right and decent work eventually is safe work. Currently, Ghana does not have a national policy on OSH Management as required by ILO Convention155 (1981). There are however, the Factories, offices and Shops act, 1970, the Mining regulations 1970, L.I 665 and the Labour Act 2003 which have regulations about health and safety management in the work environment.
We wish to plead with our sector minister, the Hon. Ignatius Baffour Awuah to expedite action on the new Occupational safety and health bill to strengthen the practice of Occupational Safety and Health in Ghana and to facilitate the creation of a safe workplace for all employees.
A safe worker is a productive worker and greater productivity means greater profits for all concerned and an improved economy for the country at large.
I want to use this opportunity to wish all workers a safe and healthy at work celebration!!!
PAUL ODOTEI AKRONG
(AG. CHIEF INSPECTOR OF FACTORIES)
DEPARTMENT OF FACTORIES INSPECTORATE
For any other information kindly contact:
Mr. Emmanuel Sawyerr
(Principal Factories Inspector)
Mr. Kingsley Amo Brempong
(Senior Factories Inspector)