A Peep Into The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Practice In Nigeria

By Iyoha I. Gabin

Every organization in Nigeria has an obligation to the well-being of all staff or employees of that company at any time. There is the need to provide occupational health and safety (OHS) practices in all workplace or environment, unfortunately, this suffers neglect by a notable number of organizations and companies in Nigeria.

Health and safety issues a prevalent in Nigeria, this exemplified by the recurrent reports of crashes in aviation industry, cases of death due to poisoning in the solid mineral sector, fatal and non-fatal injuries in construction sites, disasters in the petroleum sector arising from
pipeline vandalism, oil spillage at rigs and most notably accidents involving petroleum tankers on the road.

The construction work is one of the most well-known high-risk occupational areas in modern society. There is an influx in construction activities in Nigeria which includes high rise buildings, bridges, irrigation systems and road networks. As a result, there is an increase in the risk of hazards and accidents from daily work. This arise as some contractors tend to neglect proper safety equipment, staff safety training, site conditions and laissez-faire by companies and staffs towards safety regulations. The Nigerian construction industry seems to have disregarded labour laws which seek to protect the health and safety of employees, as such accident and injuries are not reported, and clients, consultants and contractors give
little or no attention to occupation health and safety practice. As stated earlier, given the recent increase in infrastructural development in Nigeria, it will worsen the already failed OHS as accidents, injuries and fatalities will increase.

Let’s switch focus from the construction place to all workplace. The fact that most organizations practice corrective measures to the health and safety of employees rather than preventive measures is appalling. A company will prefer a staff’s breakdown and long leave in hospitals to giving breaks or a period of rest, while it may be true that organizations exist for the major goal of making profit in the long run, they have to realize that the health, safety and welfare of their employees cannot be removed from their continued effective existence.

Hence more interest in the welfare of their employees should be undertaken including an improvements in their attitude towards safety issues by promoting safety and enforcing safety policies. Training and continuous education on safety precautions should be conducted for employers and employees to improve work accidents. Companies should
realize that provision of a safe and healthy environment for work is not a business cost that should be avoided or at best provided haphazardly, rather maintaining a high standard of occupational health and safety is for the benefit of all as it increases employees’productivity

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