Ghana government urged to speed up passage of Safety Bill
According to Mr Francis Dzifa Ahadzi, Founder and President of OHS, the bill currently at the cabinet level, has delayed although it was needed to enhance the well-being of workers in relation to their health and safety.
When passed the law would create comprehensive national framework for effective coordination and harmonisation of OHS issues in the country, strengthen related research and protect workers from work related accidents, injuries and fatalities.
Mr Ahadzi made the call in an interview on the sidelines of a visit of some members of the think tank to Groupe Ndoum (GN) Industrial Estate and the GN Quarry both in Elmina to interact with management and staff and acquaint themselves with their the health and safety measures.
He said the existing OHS laws in the country are limited in scope, do not cover vast majority of industries and do not include the informal sector, though it forms the majority of the country’s workforce.
He said because of the non-existence of a comprehensive law on OHS employers are flouting the few laws with impunity, to the disadvantage of many workers in case of casualty, especially those who could not afford to take legal action.
Mr Ahadzi advocated the setting up of Authority or an agency that would be empowered to preside over only on OHS cases, just as it is the practice in some Western countries.
He said though Ghana is a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which promotes rights of workers and strengthen work related issues it is yet to ratify the ILO convention 155 on OHS.
This he noted was due to the non-existence of the comprehensive OHS law unlike the more than the 50 countries, which have ratified the convention.
He therefore expressed the need for the passage of the OHS bill into law as soon as possible.
According to the ILO, every day, 6,300 people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases while more than 2.3 million deaths are recorded every year.
The convention provides for the adoption and coherent national occupational safety and health policy as well as action to be taken by governments and within enterprises to promote OHS and ultimately improve working conditions.
Mr Ahadzi indicated the commitment of the think tank to continue to provide advocacy, research, training and advisory services in OHS, water and food safety and environmental management to ensure the safety of workers.