The Federal Government has launched the Revised National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health at Work, in commemoration of the 2021 World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
In an address on the occassion, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, said the World Day for Safety and Health at Work “is celebrated annually on 28th April to promote the prevention of Occupational accidents and diseases globally.”
“The celebration is an integral part of the global strategy on Occupational Safety and Health of the International Labour Organization (ILO) as documented in the conclusion of the International Labour conference in June 2003,” he said.
The minister said the global theme for this year’s commemoration, “Anticipate, prepare and respond to crises: Invest Now in Resilient Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) systems,” was suitable in the circumstances, as “the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed an occupational health crisis in workplaces worldwide, and has touched nearly every aspect of the world of work, from the risk of transmission of the virus to Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) risks that have emerged as a result of measures to mitigate the spread of the virus.”
He called for a “collective and sustained action of all stakeholders towards entrenching a preventative Safety and Health culture,” as a strategy for containing (OSH) crises in the world of work.
He said workplaces could be vital in preventing and controlling outbreaks, stressing that “adequate safety and health measures at work can play a crucial role in containing the spread of diseases, while protecting workers and society at large.”
The minister said the Revised National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health 2020, which also gives specific roles to agencies of government, is aimed at ensuring the safety and health of workers at their workplaces nationwide.
He said the policy covers the formal and informal sectors of the economy, ensuring cooperation amongst stakeholders, while also mandating Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and organizations to adhere strictly to its guidelines.
Also speaking, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Yerima Peter Tarfa, said the theme for this year’s commemoration would “help us focus on strategies to strengthen National Occupational Safety and Health systems to build resilience, in order to face crises now and in the future, drawing on lessons learned and experiences from the world of work.”
He said the 2021 World Day for Safety and Health at Work would “focus on raising awareness and stimulating dialogue on the importance of creating and investing in resilient Occupational Safety and Health systems at all levels to address the outbreak of infectious diseases at work, in particular on the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He said the reviewed National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health has an additional three subsidiary regulations – Boiler and Pressure Vessels Regulation, Lifting and Allied Work Equipment (Safety) Regulations, and Diving at Work Regulations
Present at the occassion were representatives of Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Dr Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, the International Labour Organization (ILO), Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), World Safety Organization (WSO), among others.