How to Protect Bankers and Finance Workers from Occupational Safety Problems

How to Protect Bankers and Finance Workers from Occupational Safety Problems

Kayode V. Fowode

Having read a report about a staff of FCMB, Olisa Nwakoby, who committed suicide, as stated in page 5 of The Punch Newspaper, dated Monday, August 1, 2016, I feel this should be a wakeup call to both the banking and finance industry that effective health and safety management system protects lives and goes beyond having a safety policy on the walls of a building.

Although investigation is ongoing, nonetheless, I would like to make reference to a statement by the Acting Group Head, Communications and Brand Management of the FCMB, Lola Egboh as reported in Punch, “The suicide had nothing to do with the bank, and that the bank would have come to his aid if it was aware that he had emotional challenges”.

While we cannot at this stage hold the bank accountable until a thorough incident investigation has been completed, we must not shy away from reminding the institution of their health and safety responsibilities of identifying workplace hazards such as work-related stress, bullying, aggression and violence that generates psychological symptoms like guilt, agoraphobia, loss of confidence and thought of self-harm amongst others. Thus, workplace incidents can have a long-lasting effect on an employee that extends beyond the employee’s working hours.

For any organisation to ensure so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees and effectively manage the health and safety risks associated with their operations, they must integrate a robust health and safety management system within their business, promote the implementation of risk control strategies and demonstrate top management commitment together with adequate planning and implementation of effective in-house safety and health programmes that support employees’ wellbeing.

Like other business sectors, the banking and financial industry have statutory responsibility to provide a safe place of work. Banks must therefore protect their workforce against occupational injuries and ill-health and should develop good practices that may serve as benchmark for other financial institutions.

It is no doubt that both the banking and finance industry seek to build up capital gains and eliminate losses as much as possible. Since employees are valuable assets, injury at work and ill-health of an employee may lead to loss of working days, or business opportunity. Even worse, it may affect corporate image.

In this regard, I have highlighted some specific health and safety risks that must be adequately managed in the banking and finance sector in order to prevent business losses, reputation damage, employees’ turnover, high illness rate, suicide, stress, violence and aggression, bullying, fire, poor housekeeping etc. Although, most of the employees in these sectors work in a relatively stable environment, there is no doubt that they are also exposed to some significant risk of bodily injury and ill-health.

The common occupational safety and health problems that they may encounter in their daily work and corresponding precautionary measures are explained in subsequent paragraphs.

Workers in both banking and finance sectors are exposed to varying occupational health and safety issues such as workplace violence(from aggressive customers), bullying, psychological stress from struggling to…

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