Julius Akpong is the HSE Manager for Cummins Energy Solution; a Chemist who has a long standing relationship with ISPoN, haven joined far back 2008 as a graduate member after his youth service. He has served as Public relations officer of Lagos branch and currently the financial secretary; having served as secretary of technical committees, likewise a part of national organizing committee for several conferences. Apart from ISPON, he is also a member of American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the Chemical Society of Nigeria, the British Psychological Society where he try to understand what God has put in the heads of people and what makes them to do what they do. In this interview with Paul Mbagwu, Ass. Editor of Safety Record Newspaper, he speaks on relevance of this year’s world day of safety and health at workplaces, and challenges safety professionals face at workplace. Excerpt.
On the 28th of April, we will be marking the world day of safety and health at workplaces and the theme is “Workplace Stress: A Collective Challenge”. How is Nigeria workplace contributing to this factor?
Maybe the question should be how is Nigeria workplace struggling with this factor? Because if you look into the Nigeria work place, what you will see before you see work is stress.Now what is stress? Stress is just our body’s psychological reaction to what happens to us and this reaction is based on the judgment of what is right and wrong.
And this is why I said that if you look into the Nigeria workplace, you will see stress first before you see work, because in a lot of cases, the environment at home is not safe, the economy has contending factors. The work place is not safe because of the politics; even the employers are not as compliant as they should be since there is no strong political framework to stir the professional forces in place to actually implement safe workplace. So it is the best in this type of periods, I think the ILO just hit the nail on the head.
Stress levels in Nigeria work places are high. I just implemented something like that here and people are measuring their stress levels and you will be amazed if you see what people stress levels are. So that theme is the best for now.
In Nigeria currently, families are tearing apart. A lot of things are happening; people are not getting enough pay and incomes from their jobs so because of that they cannot meet community, public, social and family responsibilities, so misunderstandings between people can arise from not meeting these needs.
The average man who comes to work, his brain is not at the job; his mind is elsewhere and this increases his level of accidents because when you are stressed up or as a driver, you are fatigued, and drowsy- all of these things can increase the level of accidents. This is why we are safety people; we should talk so much about stress management.