The Federal Government has commenced the process of reviewing extant national policy on occupational safety and health (OSH) that has been in place since 2006.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, who spoke during a one-day Stakeholders’ Consultative meeting for the Validation of the Draft Revised National Policy on OSH organised by the ministry and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), said that the government hoped to improve on OSH performance nationwide by providing the framework for workers’ protection.
Ngige said that without a well-articulated National Policy on OSH, achievement of safety and health protection for workers would continue to be a mirage.
The minister, who was represented by Mr Williams Alo, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Labour and Employment, said that the stakeholders’ meeting would lead to the eventual validation of the draft policy framework on OSH in the country.
He said, “The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention C.155 on Occupational Safety and, Health and the Work Environment, establishes OSH Policy as the entry point of a standard national effort with regards to Occupational Safety, Health.
“That convention having been ratified by Nigeria in 1994, therefore, constitutes a critical document for sound framework for OSH.
“It also provides a strategic approach to the development of a National Occupational Safety, Health Culture, as is currently being advocated globally.
“In the light of the foregoing, therefore, the ministry considers the review of the extant National Policy on Occupational Safety, Health that had been put in place since 2006 expedient while considering the exercise as a next step towards facilitating improvement of OSH performance nationwide.”
He added that the revised policy would incorporate global best practices of OSH and also accommodate recent technological advancements.
Also speaking, the Director of ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Dennis Zulu, said the body is committed to working with the government, employers’ organisations, trade unions and other relevant stakeholders to design and implement effective sectoral and enterprise level occupational safety and health policies and programmes.
“To this end the ILO has already created a global framework for the implementation of national OSH policies in its member states, which takes into account global knowledge gained through evidence-base good practice.
“The concept of promoting a coherent national policy on OSH, expressed in the ILO’s Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155), was a first step towards avoiding or minimizing occupational accidents and diseases,” he said.