The Director General of the Lagos State Safety Commission (LSSC), Hon. Hakeem Dickson has commended the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), Nigeria chapter for the group’s efforts to advance safety practice in the country.
He said this in an address at ASSE Nigeria’s 2017 Safety Summit which held between March 21 and 25 at the Lagos Oriental Hotel.
Dickson disclosed that the regulatory body would explore ways to partner with ASSE Nigeria because safety in all ramifications is a collective responsibility and must not be left to government alone.
He said, “Lagos State Safety Commission in its advisory and regulatory duties will work closely with the Nigeria chapter of American Society of Safety Engineers to drive advocacy, compliance to safety standards in order to make Lagos State a safer place.”
The DG noted that the expertise of the safety engineers was needed in deeper involvement in design and manufacturing of equipment, processes and plans; safety measures and devices; and installation and training of technical and maintenance staff in the workplaces.
“This will go a long way in driving efficiency and reducing workplace hazards which will in turn lower the high rate of industrial and occupational incidents in our society,” he noted.
The President, ASSE Nigeria chapter, Mr Herbert Nwaka said the summit was convened to address issues surrounding workplace safety, property and environment.
“It is unfortunate that our role as safety professionals is misunderstood by employees and the business owners who see safety professionals as ‘workplace policemen’ who perform hazard and compliance assessments to ensure safe workplaces at the detriment of production.
“We want those of you that see us in this light to have a change of heart as we all know that safety in workplace is all that is needed to get things right,” he said.
In the same vein, the Group Managing Director of Brickwall Group, Uche Ahubelem has tasked safety engineers in the country to proffer solutions to the increasing cases of building collapse in the country.
The construction and real estate firm was one of the major sponsors of the ASSE 2017 Nigeria Summit which comprised a pre-conference seminar, conference and exhibition.
Ahubelem, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Ms Zeinab Maduagwu, said, “Safety management has become very critical in Nigeria owing to the increasing rate of incidents and accidents, many of which are avoidable.
“All of these attract fundamental damages and a number of fatalities.”
He said sponsoring the summit was Brickwall’s way of giving back to society as HSE is a fundamental focus of the company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.
“The question at this point is this: ‘How can we make Nigeria and the society in general safe and secure for all of us?
“Through forums like this, the message of Safety can be preached professionally, and that is my motivation to be here and be part of this history making event,” Ahubelem said.
Meanwhile, a medical practitioner, Dr John Obafemi Sotunsa has decried the rising cases of fatalities caused by road accidents globally.
He made this known in a lecture titled, “How Not to Die: Climbing the Wellness Ladder of Safety.”
“When we look at the 10 leading causes of death in 2004, we find respiratory tract infections, pneumonia followed by HIV/AIDS and coronary heart disease.
“Do we have accidents here? No, we don’t.
“Now 2010, we find that road traffic accidents is number five and leading is malaria, respiratory tract infections, HIV; then diarrhoea, on and on till we get to tuberculosis.
Sotunsa, who is the Director of Clinical Services at the Babcock University Teaching Hospital, also mourned the increasing cases of “medical death,” which is death due to wrong treatment by medical personnel.
Pointing at a slide, he said, “Look at the US statistics. We are comparing 2012 to 2014. Heart disease is still leading, followed by cancer. Accident is still number five, just like that of Nigeria.
“But something started happening and we began to look in between the figures.
“You are sick, go to the hospital, are given medication and you expect to get well.
“But something goes wrong and we have what we called ‘medical death’.”
Giving figures due to medical death, the medical researcher said, “Looking at the in-patient statistics, we find one to five: side effects from prescribed drugs about 100,000; wrong medication – 70,000; other errors – 20,000; hospital-based infection – 9,000; unnecessary surgery – 12,000. We have 238,000.
“What about out-patient? And this could be worse if you can get all the statistics in Nigeria because for every one that goes to the hospital, we have about 50 patronising the traditional homes and the pharmacies around because we don’t have so much control.
“You find out that about 279,000 are involved in medical deaths from the out-patient.
“So in all, you have about 535,000.
Furthermore, he said the figure of medical deaths was a cause for concern in the medical profession and has led to calls for closer attention to safety.
The ASSE Nigeria 2017 Safety Summit is the fourth series of the annual summit that brings together safety practitioners from different countries in Africa and other parts of the world to discuss ways to “chart a common course”.
Dignitaries at the summit include, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties, Hon. Oluseye Oladejo; US Consular General, F. John Bray and ASSE Global President, Thomas Cecich.
There were also top-level representations from ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron.