By Jude Njoku
Experts and other stakeholders who participated in the maiden Professional Development Conference and Exhibition PDC, organised by the American Society of Safety Engineers ASSE, Nigerian chapter, have called for the adoption of global best practices in occupational safety, health and environment to enhance the country’s international economic competitiveness.
The three-day conference which was tagged Nigeria PDC 2014, had in attendance safety experts drawn from the construction industry, oil and gas, telecommunications and related sectors.
Declaring the conference open, the Commander of the Fleet Support Group, Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Akinsola Johnson noted the positive efforts being made by Nigeria in the oil and gas as well as shipping industries and declared that these laudable national endeavours would require the adoption of best practices in areas like corporate governance, occupational safety and environment.
In her remarks, the Sector Commander of the Federal Roads Safety Commission, FRSC, Mrs Funmilayo Akinlade called on Nigerians to imbibe safety consciousness because of the grave consequences of disregarding such safety measures. She called for the erection of more roadside infrastructure to give a second chance to crash victims.
The President of the Nigerian chapter of ASSE, Mr Jeff ‘Vwede Obahor said the Nigeria PDC 2014 was organised to bring together all HSE professionals and industries’ leaders under one roof to discuss and share ideas and experiences that will move Nigeria towards a safer tomorrow.
“Our ultimate goal is to give voice to safety through effective collaboration with other professional bodies and government agencies, and to strengthen HSE practice, compliance and ethics,” he said.
Obahor who described safety as a way of life, regretted that in Nigeria, safety is not give the pride of place. He therefore called for a robust government policy and efficient and effective regulatory framework on safety. “Improving HSE competency development and awareness anywhere requires enthusiasm, great effort, smart work and discipline from dedicated safety professionals as well as a robust government policy with effective and efficient regulatory framework,” he said
Obahor pledged the the PDC would become an annual event in line with what obtains in the United States of America where an average of 3,500 people attend the conference every year.