By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja

The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has taken its occupational safety and health enlightenment programme to the South-South geo-political zone.

The campaign is geared towards prevention of accidents in workplaces in the country.

The programme with the theme “Enhancing Productivity through the Prevention of Workplace Accidents and Promotion of Occupational Safety and Health in the Construction Industry,” held in Asaba, Delta State and Benin, Edo State on Wednesday and Friday respectively.

Participants at the campaign included employers currently registered on the Employees Compensation Scheme, ECS, and the general public.

Making a presentation at the programme organised by the NSITF in conjunction with Ampresh Services Limited, the General Manager, Health, Safety and Environment, Dr Kelly Nwagha said the fund strives to avert employees getting injured in the workplaces by providing occupational health and safety preventive services.

Nwagha, who gave an overview of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in the Employee Compensation Act (2010), explained that where preventive services fail, NSITF provides rehabilitation for any injured employee in event of disability and incapacitation.

According to him, “We provide compensation services at an approved rate. We implore all employers to enroll all their employees in the Employee Compensation Scheme, as doing so will improve the morale of the workers and increase their productivity, thus giving a boost to the revenue earnings of the employers.

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“With more revenue, an employer could expand its facilities in order to employ more people, thus reducing insecurity and social vices in the society.”

Also speaking, one of the facilitators, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwankwo expressed optimism that the Occupational Safety Health awareness presentation would provide businesses with strategies, tactics and tools to gain a competitive advantage by implementing a culture of safety and health that would address these issues and keep them ahead

Nwankwo told the participants that strengthening their businesses using the culture of safety and health approach would enhance the greater good by promoting well-being, benefitting the society, their businesses and employees, customers, communities and themselves.

Another facilitator, Mrs. Susan Osulor of the Health, Safety and Employment (HSE) Department, while reaffirming NSITF’s belief that safe workplaces guarantees high productivity, lamented that despite the clarity of the law and mandate of the fund, most stakeholders are still not aware of the accruable benefits of the ECA, 2010 to employers, employees, their dependants, the society and the Government.

Delivering a paper on “Behavioural Safety in the Construction Industry,” Oleka Ikechukwu, also of HSE Department, maintained that acceptable behaviours must be positively reinforced to establish a safe work environment.

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