Occupational Safety and Health Policy under review

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The Ghana Employers? Association (GEA) with the Trades Union Congress, on Wednesday, opened an advocacy training programme aimed at reviewing the existing draft National Occupational Safety and Health Policy and Bill.

Participants at the Local Assemblies' leadership workshop
Participants at the workshop

The draft document, which was first developed in 2009, had to be abandoned due to lack of funding, but the current initiative has been possible as a result of the support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC Fund).

When completed, the proposed Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) policy would eliminate or reduce hazards and detrimental factors in working conditions.

It would also contribute to the positive development of those factors in working conditions, which makes possible the promotion of the physical, mental and social well-being of employees.

About 30 participants selected from five institutions comprising of the Trades Union Congress, Organised Labour, the Department of Factories Inspectorate, the Ghana Employers Association (GEA) and the Labour Department of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, are attending the four-day training.

It would equip participants with advocacy skills and provide them with the requisite information to be able to handle a nationwide training of other stakeholders.

It would also solicit input to perfect the draft Bill.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, in an address read for him, underscored the urgent need for a comprehensive legislation for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) that would ensure total workplace protection including the safety, health and wellbeing of employees in all sectors of the economy.

According to him, observing workplace safety standards was very critical so employers must strictly abide by the laws to save the government from paying huge sums of monies as workman?s compensations.

He, however, said currently Ghana did not have a comprehensive Occupational Safety and Health law or a single national body that oversee to this, but had scattered policies that were being managed by different Agencies under different jurisdictions.

The major challenge confronting the sector, he said, was under-reporting of accident cases by industry and this stemmed from the lack of adequate enforcement of statutory provisions, industry?s lack of appreciation of the import of the reporting mechanism, and a defect in the reporting system.

Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of the TUC, stated that a safe working environment was cardinal for maximizing production, and called on all employers to ensure OSH in their total protection for their employees and all who may be affected by their operations.

Mr Nicolas Gebera, BUSAC Fund Manager, on his part, reaffirmed the commitment of the institution to the development of the economy, as well as the development of industry.

GNA

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