The importance of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) in workplaces cannot be over-emphasized. Simply, it is doing what have to be done to keep people healthy and safe when they are at work.
This is not a matter of choice for organizations, it is mandatory for them to educate their workforce on health and safety related issues. It is also a mandatory requirement for companies in specific sectors to enroll their employees for safety training.
A professional with HSE education and certification is well positioned to work in the following sectors; Oil and Gas, Power and Energy, Aviation, Construction, Consulting Firms, International Organizations, and NGO’s.
Research says that each year, more than 4 million workers suffer serious job-related injuries or illnesses. These incidents don’t just hurt workers and their families, but can hurt businesses in a variety of ways.
The studies said companies spend $1 billion per week on workers’ compensation, which is money that could be better invested in growing small businesses, creating jobs, and keeping workers safe on the job.
Injuries and illnesses occur in all types of workplace settings, from manufacturing sites to hospitals and healthcare facilities to offices, retail and service industries. Workers can even be injured or become ill outside physical facilities, such as when driving a vehicle as part of a sales or service job.
The preventive approaches described in the recommended practices work equally well across all sectors of the economy; for all different kinds of hazards; in both mobile and fixed work environments and for small, medium-sized and large organizations.
However, Small businesses who may have an owner or a manager wearing many hats and responsible for so much more than just safety on the job are overwhelming of setting up a safety and health programme. But safety should be a priority because by identifying and controlling the job-related hazards that lead to injuries and illnesses, these safety and health programmes impact small- and medium-sized businesses’ in many ways.
A member of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Reginald Odiah who spoke with LEADERSHIP rated compliance level of companies in Nigeria as average.
He said, “we are trying our best. One of the problems we have in Nigerian industries is the fact that a lot of our industrialists are not being adequately supported.
He stated further: “Our environment and economy is not industry friendly. For example, cost of procuring our equipment and bringing them to the country is exorbitant because of interest rate. Another one is poor infrastructural facilities which make it extremely difficult for the industry to perform its safety.”
Odiah who is also chairman, Economic Policy Committee in a telephone interview stressed that “when you put these entire together, industrialist and industries are just managing to survive; so they can’t really invest adequately in health issues and the right environment.
“We don’t use the state of modern equipment only multinational companies can afford this. Many of our SMEs in the manufacturing sector do not have the capacity to bring best equipment and machines. So you find out that we use outdated equipment and machines from Europe and America and because we don’t manufacture equipment locally, this becomes problem.
“In Europe, if you procure your machine from a certain machine manufacturer, when they have latest one, they will be the one contacting you and offering you stipend to take the new ones and recycle the old one. In this situation, government needs to come in. we used to have machine tool at Osogbo but up till now they are yet to achieve anything. We need Ajaokuta steel and others to start operation so that industries can take the advantage.
“As a result of these problems, industrial workers lost their lives and their source of livelihood. They involved in accident as a result of using old outdated machines. Manufacturers find it difficult to get right equipment and right material for production”, Odiah said.
In his recommendations, he said government has a vital role to play in making right policy that is industry friendly. “We must be able to put right structure down for us to be able to industrialize. Country like China has to isolate itself from external compact from oversea in order to update itself to where it should be. Even in farming, if they don’t have healthy people to work in a right environment, there won’t be output. Nigerians need to appreciate working with themselves that working outside the country. Many of our qualify doctors for example work outside the country; it is important we support ourselves as Nigerians”, he added.
Recently, Head of Service of Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Adesoye, advised workers, especially those in manufacturing sector to fully comply with safety measures to prevent loss of lives and property.
According to her, the Akinwunmi Ambode administration would continue to put structures and programmes in place to ensure that Lagosians go about their daily activities in safe and secure environments.
Adesoye spoke at the 3rd Construction/manufacturing safety Summit organised by the Lagos State Safety Commission, with the theme ‘Achieving International Best Safety Practice: Socio-Economic Impact.
“Safety is all encompassing and touches every aspect of our lives. Therefore, I urge you to continue to support this government and contribute your quotas to the success of Lagos and we will be all the better for it,” she added.
The Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Hakeem Dickson, explained that an average man on the street is exposed to risks, adding that incidents such as building collapse and fire being experienced by the state was of great concern to the government.
He said, “The Commission’s aim is to achieve zero injuries, accidents, and deaths and ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of the people. The commission has continued to engage all stakeholders in order to ensure synergy and ensure that safety becomes a lifestyle.”
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