Health physicians seek better deal for employees at workplaces
The Society of Occupational and Environmental Health Physicians of Nigeria (SOEHPON) has admonished stakeholders to create adequate awareness for occupational health and safety policies and laws in the country with a view to ensuring compliance to enhance workers’ welfare.
At the 2015 annual conference and general meeting of the society held in Lagos, the professionals said the health of every worker in Nigeria is of paramount importance, urging every employer to provide and sustain a healthy workplace for the employees.
In a statement issued at the end of the meeting, the group noted that a healthy workplace is the tripartite responsibility of the employers, employees and government through its regulatory agency that should function independently as National Occupational Health and Safety Commission and Council as recommended by the International Labour Organization (ILO), and should operate at all tiers of government, to monitor issues and concerns of workplace health and safety.
Participants resolved that the existing legislations need constant review and enforcement by relevant stakeholders. They proposed harmonization of the fragmented laws in different regulatory and enforcement units, which they noted currently constitute a barrier to proper monitoring and enforcement.
According to SOEHPON, “most employers flout the occupational health and safety laws with impunity due to lack effective compliance monitoring, education and guidance by regulatory agency, hence the need to urgently empower and mobilize the Factory Inspection Unit of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to carry out its assigned function, in compliance with available laws and to apply appropriate consequence management to consistent defaulters.”
In the statement signed by its National Chairman, Dr. Okon Akiba, and the National Secretary, Dr. Uche Enumah, the group urged government to set up an agency to “provide guidance, monitor compliance and enunciate relevant National Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety (NOESH) policies, standards and guidelines.