The Ghana Employers Association (GEA) has called on the government to pass the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) bill into law to harmonise all safety and health issues at the workplace.
The GEA said it was also to increase awareness on OSH to eliminate hazards or bring to the minimum, incidents on OSH at the workplace.
The OSH bill is aimed at improving working environment and conditions to maintain the working capacity of employees, prevent occupational accidents and diseases as well as eliminate other hazards from work.
Speaking at the GEA seminar on OSH in Accra on Wednesday, Mr Joseph Kingsley Amuah, Director, Industrial Relations, GEA, said the passage of the OSH Bill into a law would place a significant premium on workplace safety matters.
“It will protect workers, reduce the amount of time and monetary resources employers spend on OSH related issues,” he added
Mr Amuah underscored that effective and efficient management of OSH was critical to employers “especially in ensuring that all legal, economic and social responsibilities regarding workplace and community safety and health are met.”
He emphasised that workplace accidents and occupational diseases were expensive and had the potential of diverting scarce resources from productive business engagements, in addition to its adverse impact on the general well-being of workers and their families.
“The absence of a unique and standard OSH framework is affecting the way and manner work-related injuries, accidents and near accidents at workplaces are addressed,” he stated.
“This gap has resulted in huge expenses incurred by businesses (especially those in the Manufacturing, Agriculture and Construction sectors) to defray compensation to their workers who suffer various degrees of work-related injuries, and also fixing, replacing and installing equipment to maximise safety,” he added.
Mr Amuah said it was for that reason the GEA with support from the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) developed a Sectoral OSH Guidelines to support employers and businesses to adequately mainstream the culture of OSH management in every workplace.
He said the guidelines came four forms including generic, manufacturing, agriculture and the construction sector OSH Management Guidelines.
“The general objective of the guidelines is to ensure that health and safety management in the workplace constitutes a core management function that is on-going and promotes a culture of cooperation between the major stakeholders (i.e., Government, Employers and Workers),” he said.
“I am happy to inform that plans have also been put in place to develop similar guidelines for members operating in the other sectors of the economy.
It will protect workers, reduce the amount of time and monetary resources employers spend on OSH related issues,” he added.
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR