A Senior Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry, University of Cape Coast Dr. Francis Nsiah has advocated the development mechanisms for the collection of reliable occupational health and safety data in Ghana.
According to him, it is unfortunate that Ghana, a member of the ILO doesn’t have any reliable data on occupational health and safety for purposes of policy formulation and research. Dr. Nsiah who is also an expert in Workplace Safety and Health was speaking at a Stakeholders’ Seminar at the Sasakawa Centre, University of Cape Coast to mark this year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
Every year the International Labour Organization (ILO) marks April 28, globally as World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The day is set aside to promote the prevention of occupational accidents, injuries and diseases worldwide. In many parts of the world, national authorities, trade unions, employers’ organizations and safety and health practitioners organize activities to celebrate this day. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Optimize the collection and use of occupational safety and health data” – a contribution to the implementation of sustainable development Goal 8.
Speaking on this year’s theme, Dr. Nsiah said there was the need to educate workers and employers on occupational health and safety issues and also make occupational health and safety information available to all. He further said that “awareness is good but knowledge is very important”. He maintained that workers need to be protected against workplace hazards at all times and that the Ministry of Employment and Labour must lead the way in these matters.
“There is the need to get accurate occupational health and safety figures to help us plan against occupational injuries accidents and diseases” he added. On workplace safety, he said “safety at work should be more of prevention than waiting for the accident to occur”. To be able to achieve this, he said workers must be aware of their working environment and take personal responsibilities for their health and safety at all times since workplace safety remains a shared responsibility between the employer and the employee. Collection of occupational health and safety data he said should be decentralized to make collection simpler and east to coordinate.
The collection and utilization of reliable occupational safety and health data are indispensable for the detection of new hazards and emerging risks, the identification of hazardous sectors, the development of preventive measures, as well as the implementation of policies, systems and programmes at international, national and enterprise levels. Occupational safety and health data provides the basis for setting priorities and measuring progress.
The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 8, in particular Target 8.8 focuses on the “protection of labour rights and promotion of safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular woe migrants, and those in precarious employment”.