By VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG & ONOZURE DANIA
TWO million persons die in the workplace every year out of an estimated 160 million work related diseases, and 270 million fatal and non-fatal work related accidents that occur each year in the workplace in Nigeria and other countries.
Worse still, about 4 percent of the World’s annual Gross Domestic Product, GDP is lost as a consequence of occupational diseases and accidents.
Reeling out these figures in a paper entitled: “Towards an Accident Free Workplace – Emergency Trends and Best Practice”, Dr. Janet Asherson of the International Organisation of Employers, IOE, said the profile of global industrial deaths and related issues warranted scrutiny.
Though figure for Nigeria was not available, Asherson who spoke at the 1st Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF/ Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA, Workplace Safety Awareness Day/Award Ceremony, in Lagos, noted that companies should “view risks holistically to include those of contractors, drivers and home workers use benchmarking and comparisons intelligently to judge performance”, insisting that employers should “look beyond just safety into wellbeing, human behaviour, product safety, influencing supply chain, informing customers, engaging community, especially the corporate social responsibility, CSR, agenda.
Common workplace diseases include backache, occupational asthma, occupational overuse syndrome, and work-related stress among others.
Speaking earlier on the programme, President of NECA, Chief Richard Uche, observed that 30 companies in Lagos and Ogun States were invited to participate in the Pilot Organisational Health and Safety, OSH, Compliance Audit but 25 companies participated in the exercise and the Audit Report, which was later presented to the NSITF.
“As part of this partnership, the NSITF – NECA Interactive Enlightenment Fora, which attracted a total of 675 participants in Lagos. Among specific objectives of the forum were provision of a platform for the Organised Private Sector, OPS, and other stakeholders to be enlightened on the implementation modalities of the Employees’ Compensation Act, 2010; To address employers’ concerns and challenges in complying with the new dispensation; and to review updates and developments and clarify grey areas in aid of a hitch-free implementation.