A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 13TH INTERNATIONAL SAFETY CONFERENCE AND AWARDS 2023

The 13th International Safety Conference and Award 2023 had participants from top government officials, dedicated professionals, experts, and stakeholders from both the public and private sectors.

The conference started with a safety briefing led by Mr. Ehimikhuai A. Harrison, MOSHA the Chief of Staff to the Country Regional Administrator of OSHAssociation Nigeria Region. Following this was a brief introduction of OSHAssociation UK Nigeria Region given by Dr. Aliyu Mohammed Ibrahim, FOSHA the Country Regional Administrator of the Association.

The conference gathered over 300 attendees, including representatives from various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Federal Government, including private organisations. It was a robust engagement of intellectuals, scholars, and experts in the field of Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE).

The welcome address was given by HRH Dr. Amb. Olusegun Aderemi, FOSHA the regional president OSHAssocitaion Nigeria Region. He expressed his gratitude to everyone for coming and further urged professionals to give proper attention to health and safety management in their organisations because employees’ lives have no duplicate.

This was followed by speeches, which were given by the Honourable Minister of Sport Development, who was represented by Mr. Kabiru Yusuf. He recognise the importance of safety in the realm of sports, the Honourable Minister of Solid Mineral Development, and also the Honourable Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Comfort Adeosun, Director of Service Welfare to the Permanent Secretary Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation. All made their remarks in line with the theme of the event.

This was followed immediately by goodwill messages, which were given by the following dignitaries: Dr. Dalhatu Mohammed Ahmed (FOSHA), Chairman Council of Fellows OSHAssociation UK-Nigeria Region; Els William, Director OSHAssociation Begium Region; Engr. Adebayo Zacheus Abiola, acting Director of FCT Fire Service and Engr Dr. Emmanuel Uwalaka, Executive Director OSHAssociation Middle East and Africa Region.

During the conference, there was a panel discussion on the topic “Challenges and Strategies of Maintaining a Positive Safety Culture in the Workplace.” The discussion was led by Dr. Chris Mitchell Osazuwa, FOSHA who shared valuable insights on fostering a safety-oriented work environment. Representatives from various industries and MDAs of government shared valuable concerns, insights, and best practices in safety management.

 The conference also featured several informative presentations led by Prof. Rabiu Abdussalam Magaji, FOSHA who delivered a keynote paper titled “Accelerating Health and Safety Management Systems: Establishing and Maintaining a Positive Safety Culture.

At the conference, awards of commitment were also presented to organisations that have made significant contributions to the National Safety Advocacy Project (NSAP), which was initiated by the Association in 2021 to address the challenges of proactive safety awareness and ensure federal government involvement in driving the safety best practices in Nigeria starting from 2021 to 2023. Furthermore, the Regional President, HRH Amb. Dr. Olusegun Aderemi unveiled Phase 2 of the National Safety Advocacy Project, which will be implemented from 2024 to 2026. The project aims to further enhance and improve safety awareness and compliance level in the public and private organizations in the country.

RECOMMENDATIONS

After the fruitful deliberations at the Conference, the following recommendations were made:

  1. The Federal Government should look into the enforcement of OSH regulations and laws, by passing the OSH Bill into Law, which will help organisation adhere to the prescribed standards and face consequences for non-compliance.
  2. Private and Government organisation should create a work environment that prioritises the safety and health of employee by establishing a strong safety culture which can be achieved through regular training, clear communication of safety policies, and encouraging employee participation in safety initiatives.
  3. Government should Implement Robust Safety Management Systems that encompass risk assessment, hazard identification, incident reporting, and corrective action procedures. Regularly reviewing and updating these systems to ensure they remain effective and aligned with industry best practices.
  4. Private and public organisations should resuscitate and strengthen the existing partnership with OSHAssociation to collaborate, coordinate and cooperate to implement robust safety practices to improve overall productivity in the workplace
  5. All OSH Desk Officers from MDAs are encouraged and advised to equip themselves with safety and health knowledge in order to efficiently carry out their roles, and also relate their concerns to OSHAssociation for assistance.
  6. Organisation should encourage their employee involvement in safety and health initiatives by encouraging their active participation and as well establishing safety committees or teams that include representatives from different departments or work areas.
  7. Private and public organisations should provide adequate resources and support by allocating sufficient resources, including financial, human, and technological resources, to support the implementation and maintenance of safety and health management systems. This includes providing necessary safety equipment, tools, and training materials to employees.
  8. Organisations are encouraged to foster open communication channels by establishing effective communication for employees to report safety concerns, near-misses, and incidents without fear of reprisal.
  9. The OSH Desk Officers in various MDAs should be up and doing on the issue of best safety practices by focusing on advocacy, sensitisation, and implementation of the programmes and laws in order to save the lives and properties of its citizens and its overall productivity.
  10. Professional Continuous Development is key to ensuring effective safety management system, therefore; OSHAssociation is ready for collaboration and partnership to ensure proactive awareness of OSH best practices.

Appreciation

Participants at the 13th International Safety Conference and Awards 2023 Conference expressed profound gratitude to the Occupational Safety and Health Association UK Nigeria-Region for hosting such an important event and for providing them with valuable education centered around the theme “Accelerating safety and health management systems to improve productivity in the workplace.” They recognized the cruciality of prioritizing safety and health in order to enhance overall productivity and create a conducive work environment.

 

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World Mental Health Day 2023! Theme: Mental Health is a Universal Human Right

The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHAssociation) joins the global community in celebrating World Mental Health Day. This annual observance aims to raise awareness about mental health issues and promote the importance of mental well-being worldwide. With the theme for this year being “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right,”

As human beings, our health and the health of those we care about are matters of daily concern. Regardless of our age, gender, socio-economic, or ethnic background, we consider our health to be our most basic and essential asset.

Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being, affecting how we think, feel, and act. It influences our ability to cope with stress, form relationships, and make decisions. Mental health is not merely the absence of mental illness but also includes the presence of positive mental well-being. This means that being mentally healthy doesn’t just mean that you don’t have a disorder or illness; it also means that you are able to cope with the everyday stresses of life, contribute to society, can work productively, and have a general sense of wellbeing. It is a vital component of overall health and contributes to our productivity, resilience, and quality of life.

Ill health, on the other hand, can keep us from going to school or to work, from attending to our family responsibilities, or from participating fully in the activities of our community.

The theme “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right”, highlights the fundamental importance of mental health as an essential aspect of human rights, emphasizing the need for universal access to mental health care and support. Everyone, whoever and wherever they are, has a right to the highest attainable standard of mental health. This includes the right to be protected from mental health risks, the right to available, accessible, acceptable, and good-quality care, and the right to liberty, independence, and inclusion in the community.

Mental health should be recognized and protected as a basic human right for all individuals. Just as physical health, education, and housing are considered fundamental rights, mental health should be afforded the same level of importance.

Mental health issues have a significant impact on the workforce, affecting individuals, organisations, and society as a whole. According to studies, mental health-related challenges contribute to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, higher healthcare costs, and reduced job satisfaction. Common mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and stress can lead to burnout, decreased concentration, impaired decision-making, and strained relationships with colleagues. Neglecting mental health in the workplace can have far-reaching consequences for individuals’ well-being and organisational success.

As we observe World Mental Health Day 2023, OSHAssociation is encouraging everyone and organisation to advocate for mental health as a universal human right. Through raising awareness, promoting understanding, and supporting mental health initiatives, we can work towards a world where everyone has the opportunity to enjoy good mental well-being. Let us join hands to eliminate stigma, ensure access to mental health services, and create a society that values and protects the mental health of every individual

A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 1-DAY NATIONAL OSH WORKSHOP AND MEMBERSHIP INDUCTION 2023, ORGANISED BY THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ASSOCIATION NIGERIA-REGION HELD AT RAW MATERIAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (RMRDC), MAITAMA, ABUJA ON THURSDAY 31ST AUGUST 2023 WITH THE THEME: “PRACTICING INJURY PREVENTION AT WORKPLACE”

The 1-day National OSH Workshop organized by Occupational Safety and Health Association gathered top government officials, dedicated professionals, experts, and stakeholders from the public and private sector.

The Honourable Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare Dr. Tunji Alausa made his speech during the opening session, charging all the participants to develop new ways of preventing injuries and ill health at work by executing their daily operations safely to avoid fatalities and deaths.  The Minister who was represented by Dr. David Atuwo, Director/Senior Technical Assistance to the Honourable minister appreciated the activities of OSHAssociation towards proactive safety and health awareness and advocacy in Nigeria.

Also Dr. Betta Edu, Hon. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, represented by Mrs funmilayo Adejoorin made her remarks in line with the theme of the workshop, commending the Association for effective promotion of safety best practices in the region, especially in all MDAs in Nigeria. Other dignitaries at the event includes Mr Mahmud Adam Kambari, the Permanent Secretary Welfare Unit, Head of Service of the Federation, Prof. Idris M. Bugaje, Executive Secretary National Board for Technical Education, Mr. Ahmed Bolaji Nagode, Director General National Power Training Institute of Nigeria, Air Cdre FO Bassey, the Commandant Nigeria Airforce Institute of Safety, etc

 

The objective of the workshop was to raise awareness, share knowledge, and foster collaboration in the pursuit of creating safer working environments within the public and private sector; with injury prevention as the major focus.

 

The workshop started with a safety briefing, which was given by Mr. Samuel Uzoukwu (MOSHA), followed by the welcome address, which was given by HRH Dr. Amb. Olusegun Aderemi, the regional president OSHAssocitaion Nigeria- region. He thanked everyone for participating and emphasized the need for proactive measures to be taken to ensure that workplace safety is prioritised. Following this, goodwill messages were delivered by the following dignitaries, Mr Mahmud Adam Kambari, Permanent Secretary Welfare Unit Head of Service of the Federation, represented by Dr. Comfort Adeosun Director OSH Department, Dr. Dalhatu Mohammed Ahmed (FOSHA), Chairman Council of Fellows OSHAssociation UK-Nigeria Region, Mr. Ahmed Bolaji Nagode (FOSHA), Director General National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), etc.

 

In line with the agenda, Engr. (Dr.) Emmanuel Uwalaka, the OSHAssociation’s Nigeria regional administrator, presented a brief introduction of OSHAssociation UK Nigeria Region, explaining the role and goals of the association. Air Cdre F.O.Bassey, The Commandant Nigeria Air Force Institute of Safety, and Prof. Idris M. Bugaje Executive Secretary (NBTE) made their keynote speeches and It was a robust engagement of intellectuals, scholars, expert, and practitioners in diverse fields.

 

The workshop featured engaging panel discussion that facilitated the exchange of ideas and best practices. Participants actively shared their experiences, challenges, and success stories, contributing to the enrichment of the body of knowledge. Representatives from various industries and MDAs of government shared valuable concerns, insights, and best practices in safety management. This cross-pollination of ideas was a cornerstone of dedicated efforts to continuously improve safety standards.

During the event, an 8-year-old girl named Zara C. Uwalaka presented her book titled “Ebube the Safety Boy’’, explaining why kids need to know how to stay safe within their environment.

Prof. Rabiu Magaji in his presentation, he shared strategies and  initiatives for injury prevention and the role of the community in building a safer and healthier workplace with practical demonstrations.

As part of the event, new members from different categories were inducted into the Association. The investiture speech was read by the Regional President HRH, Dr. Amb. Olusegun Aderemi, followed by the decoration and presentation of awards and certificates to all inductees, as well as closing remarks to end the event.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Following fruitful deliberations at the workshop,  the following recommendations were made:

  1. Participants agreed that Government at all level should promote stronger collaboration between the public and private sectors to improve funding and further strengthen workplace safety education and awareness.
  2. The Government should address the challenges of safety and insecurity which will reduce the burden of incidents and its consequences in the society.
  3. Public and private organisations should ensure they educate and train their staff on safety measures and procedures in order to avoid injuries, deaths, loss of properties and resources.

     4.The federal government should take the lead and in collaboration with other levels of government, establish and             enforce safety guidelines to ensure a safer work environment for workers.  

  1. Government at all Level should put in place mechanism to motivate people to cultivate the habit of proactive safety consciousness by ensuring the provision of safety resources such as safety signs, adequate waste bin within workplace and hand wash system/ sanitizers.
  2. Organisations should implement health and wellness programmes that promote physical and mental well-being among employees, ultimately reducing the risk of workplace injuries.
  3. Federal Government should look into the enforcement of OSH regulations and laws, by passing the OSH Bill into Law, which will help organisation adhere to the prescribed standards and face consequences for non-compliance.
  4. Leaders of various organisation should encourage employees to get involve in the OSH initiatives by promoting a culture of safety, empowering them to report hazards and providing mechanisms for their participation in decision making process.
  5. Participant agreed that organisations and institutions should raise awareness about the importance of injury prevention at the workplace through regular training programmes and campaigns.
  6. Organisations should implement the formation of safety committees to regularly review safety practices, address concerns, and develop action plans for continuous improvement in MDAs and within the concerned private organisations in Nigeria.
  7. Public and Private organisations should encourage their employees to join professional safety bodies such as OSHAssociation, for the purpose of continuous professional development and learning, by so doing preventing injuries and fatalities at workplace.
  8. To ensure zero incident in the manufacturing industries, OSHAssociation is advised to collaborate with Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) to ensure effective safety education and awareness.

 

Participants expressed their profound gratitude to OSHAssociation Nigeria Region for their continuous commitment to promoting a culture of safety across various organizations and institutions. This shared dedication is a significant step toward achieving our collective goal of reducing workplace injuries.

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The 5 Elements of Safety

 

All organizations should prioritize creating and maintaining a strong culture of health and safety. The success of a business ultimately depends on its workforce, so it is important to never take their lives or well-being for granted.

The five elements of workplace safety include: education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement, and evaluation and must be taken into account while creating Health Safety Management System (HSMS), running a safety awareness class, or revising a general safety program.

Education

Without educating your staff on workplace dangers and their controls, you will never be able to improve the safety culture of your firm, even with a successful HSMS created by top-tier safety experts. Through education, you may provide your employees the knowledge of the necessary safe working procedures and help them develop risk management abilities that go beyond their natural instincts.

Encouragement 

Encouragement is defined as actions or words that give someone the confidence to do something. Without requiring anyone to study the entire OHS program you have created, the objective here is to increase your employees’ passion and sense of confidence in their ability to actively contribute to the safety culture of your company.

Engineering 

The “engineering” aspect of safety is the creation of effective OHS regulations and procedures. The output’s quality is a top concern in this situation. “Engineering Safety” include the meticulous design, development, analysis, implementation, and maintenance of the new safety measures being implemented.

Enforcement 

It can be difficult to get your employees to follow safety rules, especially when doing so requires them to put in extra time that they weren’t expecting. To guarantee that workers understand that their safety is in their hands, well-built training must be in place that not only informs but also motivates them to follow your instructions. In situations where time is of the essence, taking the extra step frequently means the difference between “life” and “death.”

Evaluation

Maintaining current knowledge of the latest safety requirements and conducting regular safety audits are essential. It’s critical to plan a semi-year or annual review of the adopted safety practices and procedures since maintaining a strong safety culture necessitates continuous examination and improvement.  Don’t Forget’ 

“Shortcuts cut life short”                  

Preventing Incident and Injuries: The Role of Unsafe Acts, Unsafe Conditions, and Near Misses

Workplace safety is a crucial aspect of any industry, and it is important for employers and employees to understand the importance of identifying and mitigating unsafe conditions  and unsafe acts. This not only helps to prevent accidents and injuries, but it also helps to increase productivity and reduce costs associated with accidents. This will also helps for ensuring  the safer workplace that resulting a safe return of employees.

 

Unsafe Acts: Unsafe acts refer to actions or behaviors that pose a risk to oneself or others. These can include disregarding safety protocols, taking shortcuts, not using personal protective equipment (PPE), or engaging in reckless behavior. Unsafe acts significantly increase the likelihood of incidents and injuries.

Unsafe Condition: Unsafe conditions are physical or environmental factors that can lead to accidents or injuries. These can encompass a wide range of hazards such as slippery floors, inadequate lighting, faulty equipment, exposed electrical wiring, or insufficient ventilation.

Near Misses: Near misses are incidents or events in which an unplanned occurrence nearly results in an injury, illness, or property damage. They serve as valuable opportunities for learning and prevention. Near misses indicate underlying hazards or weaknesses in safety systems that need to be addressed.

Combining efforts to address unsafe acts, unsafe conditions, and near misses can significantly enhance workplace safety. It requires a collaborative approach, involving management, employees, and safety professionals. Regular training, communication, hazard identification, risk assessment, and continuous improvement are key components of an effective safety program. By fostering a proactive safety culture, organizations can reduce incidents and injuries, protect their employees, and promote overall well-being

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