The Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige has disclosed that in line with the Change Mantra of the Federal Government of Nigeria, efforts towards ensuring safe, healthy, and decent work as well as the curbing of unnecessary wastages in the economy remain a priority of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Honourable Minister made the remarks in Abuja at the occasion of 2016 commemoration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work and also launched a reviewed Occupational Safety and Health Inspection Checklist for Nigeria as part of activities to mark the day.
He emphasized that this is with a view of putting all hands on deck towards eradicating social exclusion, poverty and achieving equitable inclusive and sustainable development that translates to a positive change in people’s lives.
The theme of the campaign of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work for this year 2016, “Workplace Stress: A collective Challenge” is no doubt apt against the backdrop of Stress at Work becoming a common and costly problem in the workplace. Today many workers are facing greater pressure in relation to the conditions and demands of modern working life. Beyond psychosocial risk factors, the workplace is becoming more stressful and work-related stress is now generally acknowledged as a global issue affecting all countries, all professions and all workers both in developed and developing countries. Recent researches have indicated that exposure to stressful working conditions (called work stressors) have a direct influence on workers safety and health.”
Senator Ngige stressed that with the focus of attention this year’s commemoration, government calls on active participant and collaboration of all stakeholders in the development and implementation of stress prevention programmes; adding that employers should assess the workplace for the risk of stress for its effective management and control. The National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health stipulates the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare of all workers. This duty extends to protecting workers from the risk of harm from stressors at work. This will go a long way towards improving workers’ well-being job satisfaction personal development and increased productivity.
The Minister emphasized that the “extant democratic government in Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, has expressed its genuine desire to reposition Nigeria in the committee of nations for respectability, value creation, efficient resource protection and management, economic growth and development. The Federal Government is not unwary of the fact that Change agenda can only be driven and achieved with human capital that is fit, safe and healthy to face the challenges of industrialization, modernization and globalization.” He concluded.
The Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr. Clement Illoh represented by Mrs. Nofisat Arogundade the Director Occupational Safety and Health (OS&H) stated that the International Labour Organization estimates that two million men and women lose their lives through accidents and diseases related to their work yearly and about 270 million occupational accidents and 160 million occupational diseases are recorded yearly.
‘’The theme for this year speaks for itself; “Workplace Stress: A Collective Challenge” as it tends to pronounce the high prevalence of stress factors in the workplace. Workplace stress cannot be overemphasized as it is now generally acknowledged as a global issue affecting all countries cutting across all professions both in the developed and developing countries. Therefore there is the need to create awareness to protect the health of all workers.”
In his remarks, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Director Mr. Dennis Zulu said that ILO over the years has ensured that all working men and women should be protected from injuries, diseases, including stress arising from the employment, adding that in this regards, the ILO focuses on protection and protecting the well being of workers through improvement of the working conditions and working environment, to control work related diseases.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) represented by Comrade (Mrs.) Maureen Onyia enumerated socio economic and Occupational Safety and Health challenges facing workers that are stress related. She concluded that the issue of stress is particularly important because it affects the workers well being, productivity, and in turn causes problem for the employer.
She added that, ‘’although the country has not been able to diversify because we are still a mono economy, but even as it is, we are better than so many other countries because we have the resources. She advised that as workers and as Government, we should begin to think of other ways that we can use to help the economy’’.
Deputy Director (Press)