Health and Safety Group Africa (HESAG), a health and safety think-tank has called on the Government to demonstrate high level commitment to have the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) draft bill passed.
This they believe, will address the (OSH) challenges facing Ghanaian workers.
The Government must also undertake broader consultations to ensure the policy was comprehensive and embedded in its mechanisms to allow workers report accidents and occupational illnesses and infractions without victimization.
According to HESAG, Ghana does not have a comprehensive national policy on occupational safety and health management as required by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention of which the country was signatory to.
HESAG Africa believes that a comprehensive national Safety and Health policy would provide guidelines for managing and improving safety and health at the workplace.
These were contained in a statement signed by Mr Dzifa Ahadzi, President of HESAG Africa and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) to commemorate World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
This year’s celebration on the theme“Safety and Health and the Future of Work”is inspired by the ILO centenary anniversary and discussions would focus on the future of work.
“The ILO looks into the future for continuing efforts of occupational safety and health through major changes such as; technology, demographics, sustainable development including; climate change and changes in work organisation”, the statement said.
The statement added that the existing Factories, Offices and Shops Act 1970, (Act 328), the Mining Regulations 1970 (LI 665), and the Labour Act 2003 (Act 561), had become outmoded and needed to be reviewed.
“Information gathered indicates that although an Occupational Safety and Health (OHS) bill has been drafted, it is currently nowhere to be found.
“HESAG Africa, therefore wishes to use this occasion to demand from the employment and labour relations ministry, the where about of the draft bill and further call for action to be taken on the bill” the statement said.
It said the government’s One-District-One Factory policy, which seeks to industrialize the country through laudable, would leave large percentage of the Ghanaian workforce exposed to various forms of safety and health hazards at the industries, if the laws were not modified.
“HESAG Africa, wishes to applaud government and associate with the One District, One factory policy. This is obviously the way to go to catapult the nation from import driven economy to export driven” it said.
“But as we embark on industrialization as a nation, it is important to put in place the right measures to provide decent work for employees in their work environments, failure to institute these measures would extremely cost the nation in the long run”, the statement added.
HESAG Africa congratulated all hardworking Ghanaians in various sectors of the economy under certain hazardous circumstances and contributing immensely to the development of the country and urged them to take personal responsibility and adhere to safety guidelines.
The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual international awareness-raising campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work.
The Day is marked on 28th April each year.