The Society of Occupational and Environmental Health Physicians of Nigeria (SOEHPON) has urged the media to collaborate with the Society to sensitize Nigerian workers, policy makers, opinion leaders on occupational Health and safety issues.
Speaking at the SOEHPON Media Workshop held at the Civic Centre, Victoria in Lagos on Thursday, the National President, SOEHPON, Dr. Musa Shaibu said the collaboration will enhance awareness, OH and Safety behavior and reduce work-related events.
The workshop is with the theme: The Power of the Media To Change Occupational Health and Safety Landscape in Nigeria.
According to him, objectives of OH Practice in the workplace include protection of workers’ health from hazards at work, prevention of work-related diseases, accidents and injuries; reduction in work-related man-hour losses; enhance man-hour optimisation and hence effectiveness and efficiency in care delivery and compliance with statutory regulations.
“Therefore the role of OH in the workplace predict risks and initiate and promote actions to reduce them, investigate and manage work-related diseases and injuries; advise management on strategic measures to protect workers and clients against work-related health challenges.”
He listed benefits of OH programmes in workplaces to include safeguard the health of workers; lower sickness absences, reduced man-hour losses; viable workforce and improved productivity; additional motivation and morale booster for workers, improve service delivery and outcomes; better image for the organisation and responsible corporate citizen.
Dr. Shaibu also highlighted several key occupational health laws that require review.
These include The Factories Act 1990 (CAP 126 LFN), the Labour Act 1990 (CAP 198 LFN), Employee Compensation Act 2000 (previously workmen’s compensation Act CAP 470), and Protection of workers from employment-related hazards and risks.
He expressed concern over the lack of strong enforcement of existing laws, which he said has aggravated workplace hazards, and called on lawmakers to prioritize this issue.
He emphasized SOEHPON’s commitment to educating both employers and employees on the need to take the health and safety of workers seriously, stating that it would improve productivity.
Also speaking at the event, Professor Folashade Omokchodion, a professor of occupational medicine from the University of Ibadan, also urged the media to raise awareness about health and safety issues in Nigeria.
Professor Omokchodion highlighted the adverse effects of problems in the workplace, particularly in the informal and formal sectors, and stressed the need for structures to ensure the safety of employees.
She called on Nigerians to prevent work-related diseases and accidents and for the government to put mechanisms in place for identifying hazards and conducting occupational risk assessments.
Society of Occupational and Environmental Health Physicians of Nigeria is an umbrella professional body for all Occupational and Environmental Health Physicians in Nigeria.
Established in 1978, membership is open to all OH practitioners in Nigeria; be in academia, corporate organisation, private or public sector.
Membership currently over 300 members with the goal to advance the development and practice of OH in Nigeria.