The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and the MP for Sunyani West Constituency, Honourable Ignatius Baffour Awuah,

The Chief Director, Mr Kizito Ballans,

The Niimei and Naamei, Partner Agencies, Stakeholders, Service Providers, Safety Practitioners, friends from the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen all protocols duly observed.

I wish to welcome you all to this year’s World Day for Health and Safety at Work.

The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘A Safe and Healthy Working Environment as a Fundamental Principle and Right of Work’.

The Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-Up was originally adopted and amended by the International Labour Organization Conference on 11th June 2022 adding to it as a fifth principle and right of work.

I am quite sure that most, if not all, of you will agree that occupational health and safety has become an integral part of our current life and culture. Commitment to the highest attainable standard of occupational health and safety in the workplace provides a substantial support to the right to safety and employers are clearly responsible for guaranteeing safety rights. The World Day for Health and Safety at Work is an important day to focus on the great importance of occupational safety and health of the Ghanaian worker and to review and strengthen safety policies at work.

The roots of the principle of a healthy and safe working environment is clearly stated in 1992 4th Republican constitution of Ghana that “the State shall safeguard the health, safety and welfare of all employees” (article 36(10)). It comes as a part of a renewed societal responsibility and looks to achieve sustainable economic growth, decent work and more resilient labour force.

There is a growing momentum led by civil society, partners, investors, companies, and other stakeholders for successive governments including the current one to pass the new OSH bill that is currently before Cabinet. The new bill is expected to mainstream and harmonize the protection of occupational health and safety through regulations and standards for the Ghanaian worker.

The passage of the New Occupational safety and Health Bill and the adoption of the National Occupational safety and Health Policy will set a National standard for the regulation of Occupational safety and Health. These policy documents, if implemented will help to strengthen the occupational health and safety (OSH) standards, and reinforce the principle that all workers share the right to a safe and healthy working environment in the workplace.

Employers and employees alike will be more aware of the scrutiny they will face should they fall short of OSH provisions and standards. Protection of workers’ health and safety

is core to achieving sustainable, decent working conditions and is a proof of increase in productivity as well as achieving the accident-free goal of the Department of Factories Inspectorate for all workers in Ghana. We believe that workers should not suffer accidents or illness, or even die, as a result of an unsafe and unhealthy working condition.

At the end of the year 2022, the Department had 54 inspectors at post and these officers were able to conduct over 3500 inspections. The department needs at least 800 inspectors to effectively oversee the health and safety needs in the country. It is my intention as Acting chief Inspector of Factories to bring safety to the doorstep of every industry. To this end, we are opening new regional offices in Wa, and Sefwi Wiawso to cater for those regions this year. Other offices will be opened next year till the department covers all the sixteen regions.

Occupiers should also take note that payment of registration/ renewal fee does not automatically guarantee a certificate and safety. There is a process that has to be followed i.e., Inspection, Risk Assessment, Training, monitoring, and medical surveillance (IRTMMS). Every occupier must go through all these processes before being certified as safe.

I wish you all an enjoyable celebration.

Thank you.