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Lagos advocates zero harm at workplaces, signs health policy statement

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Governor Ambode. Photo: Twitter/AkinwunmiAmbode

To ensure employee safety and health at the workplace, the Lagos State Government yesterday signed the Occupational Health and Policy Statement.

Speaking at the 2018 Vision Zero conference, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, noted that there was the need to be abreast of international best practices on work safety and health developments.

The event, tagged: A Mindset Change Towards Zero Harm, attracted speakers across all sectors.

Ambode expressed hope that through sustained public and institutional enlightenment strategies, occupational injuries and illnesses would be reduced at workplaces.

His words: “The issue of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) at the workplace is paramount to industrial and economic growth and development of any society.

“It is the duty of employers to guarantee the safety and welfare of employees in the workplace, especially in an environment that exposes the workers to hazardous situations, which may lead to loss of lives or body parts.

“Government has the responsibility of providing guidelines and safety measures for employers of labour in the industrial sector to ensure that the lives of vulnerable workers are safeguarded against avoidable hazards in the workplace.”

He added that the conference is a demonstration of the state’s commitment to the implementation of the resolution reached at the 2017 XXI Word Congress held in Singapore on safety and health at the work place.

Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission (LSSC), Hakeem Dickson, explained that Vision Zero was aimed at promoting leadership, ownership and partnership with all stakeholders in the state.

“It is in view of this that, the state government through the commission deemed it urgent to declare Zero Tolerance for workplace incidents through various strategies one of which informed the theme of the conference,” he stated.

To realise this goal the commission has set up committees to work rules which include: Leadership commitment; identify hazards and create mitigating measures; set health and safety goals; ensure a safety and health system; use safe and healthy technologies; improve qualification, competence and invest in people.

In her paper titled: Psychological Risk: Mental Health And Wellbeing At Work, Maymunah Kadiri, stated that researchers were of the opinion that poor control of psychological stress could reduce employee productivity by 40 to 60 per cent compared to absence of stress or was it was better managed.

She explained that a recent study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that over 300 million people around the world suffer depression, while another 260 million suffer from anxiety.

“Most of them live with both conditions and such disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion in productivity yearly,” she added.

President of the National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN), Akhigbe Cletus said: “If you want all to align with safety at the workplace, then vision Zero is the way to go.

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