FG, OSHA-UK Partner for Environmental Health and Safety

FG, OSHA-UK Partner for Environmental Health and Safety

In pursuit of a safe and healthy work environment for the federal public service, the Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE) Department of the Office of the Head of the Federation Public Service, in collaboration with the Occupational Health Association, United Kingdom (OSHA, UK), Nigeria Region, recently organized a 3-day occupational safety and health (OSH) vocational training and certification program for selected officers from various OHCSF departments.

The Permanent Secretary of the Service Welfare Office (SWO), Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe, in her opening remarks, said that the government is aware of the safety and health of Nigerian workers as the training is based on promoting best practices in occupational safety and health issues in the Service that may impact productivity and the effective delivery of services.

Dr Onwudiwe, who was represented by the Director of Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE), Dr Comfort Adeosun, said the training aims to provide basic information on workplace policies. OSHA, to raise awareness and drive skills in workplace safety, to reduce risk and impact in our workplaces. She added that the training will also focus on ensuring that risk assessment is carried out, on a regular basis, in offices.

She further stated that in an effort to institutionalize Occupational Health and Safety in the Federal Civil Service, the OHCSF has issued a Circular to Ministries, Departments and Extra-Ministerial Agencies (MDAs) for the establishment of an Office of Occupational Health, Safety and Environment in July, 2022.

“To further promote the importance of health and safety, a next step has now been taken for civil servants in MDAs and this is the next level, with the release of another circular for the creation of a framework occupational health and safety in the service and I know that state governments will soon join us,” she added. The newly created framework, which came into effect on January 23, 2022, she said, will be published in the next service program. She appreciated the OHSE team for spearheading the safety initiative, as she wished participants good luck, while urging them to imbibe the gospel of safety.

The Representative of the Regional Chairman, OSHA, UK, Nigeria Region, Dr. Mohammed Dalhatu, who is also the Chairman of the Council of Fellows in Nigeria, in his remarks, opined that the value of Occupational Health and Safety in Nigeria is gradually building the consciousness of the Nigerian working class, both in the private and public sectors. He added that many people are not safety conscious at home and in workplaces due to low levels of awareness, which has resulted in the loss of many lives and valuable property. Dr. Dalhatu also reveals that the creation of an occupational health and safety framework in the federal civil service is a major turning point in the Nigerian administrative system.

The Regional Administrator, OHSA UK-Nigeria, Engineer Emmanuel Nwalaka, said safety is driven from the top and without commitment at the highest level there is little or nothing to achieve. He urged policy makers to give drivers maximum support for occupational health and safety in workplaces. Engineer Nwalaka further stated that the practice of security is a clock-to-clock activity, hence the urgency to recognize hazards in our environments and deploy appropriate control measures to reduce them.

The training covered the following areas:
I. Occupational Safety and Health Foundation,
ii. Safety and fire prevention,
iii. Health and security at work,
iv. How to control specific hazards in the workplace,
v. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and
vi. Professional examination/assessment.

The application of appropriate occupational health and safety standards will reduce work-related stress and diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, increase productivity and improve service delivery and good governance for national development, among others.

MA Ahmed,
Deputy Director, Communications.
August 21, 2022.

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