In pursuit of a safe and healthy work environment for the Federal Civil Service, the Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE) Department in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, in collaboration with the Occupational Health Association, United Kingdom (OSHA, UK), Nigeria Region, recently organised a 3-day Professional Training and Certification Programme on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) for selected officers drawn from various Departments in the OHCSF.
The Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office (SWO), Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe, in her Opening Remarks, stated that Government is awake to the safety and health of Nigerian workers, as the training is hinged on promoting best practices in occupational safety and health in the Service that can impact on productivity and effective service delivery.
Dr. Onwudiwe, who was represented by the Director, Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE), Dr. Comfort Adeosun, stated that the training seeks to provide basic information on OSHA’s policies, raise awareness and motivate occupational safety skills, in order to reduce hazard and incidence in our work places. She added that the training will also focus on ensuring that risk assessment is carried out, on a regular basis, in offices.
She further stated that in a bid to institutionalise Occupational Health and Safety in the Federal Civil Service, the OHCSF issued a Circular to Ministries, extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for the establishment of Occupational Health, Safety and Environment Desk in July, 2022.
“To further promote the importance of health and safety, a next step is now being taken for Civil Servants across the MDAs and that is the next level, with the release of another Circular for the creation of Occupational Health and Safety Cadre in the Service and I know State governments will soon come on board,” she added. The newly created cadre, which took effect from the 23rd of January 2022, she said will be gazetted in the next Scheme of Service. She appreciated the OHSE team for driving the safety initiative, as she wished the participants well, while enjoining them to imbibe the gospel of safety.
The Representative of the Regional President, OSHA, UK, Nigeria Region, Dr. Mohammed Dalhatu, who is also the Chairman, Council of Fellows in Nigeria, in his remarks, opined that the value of Occupational Health and Safety in Nigeria is gradually building the consciousness of the Nigerian working class, in both the private and public sectors. He added that a lot of people are not mindful of safety, at home and work places, due to low level of awareness, which has led to loss of many lives and valuable properties. Dr. Dalhatu also disclose that the creation of Occupational Health and Safety Cadre in the Federal Civil Service is a major turning point in Nigeria’s administrative system.
The Regional Administrator, OHSA UK- Nigeria, Engineer Emmanuel Nwalaka stated that safety is driven from the top and without top level commitment, there is little or nothing to be achieved. He enjoined policy makers to give maximum support to drivers of occupational health and safety in work places. Engr. Nwalaka further said the practice of safety is a clock to clock activity, hence the urgency to recognise hazards within our environments and deploy appropriate control measures to curtail them.
The training focused on the following areas:
i. Foundation in Occupational Safety and Health,
ii. Fire Safety and Prevention,
iii. Workplace Health and Safety,
iv. How to Control Specific Risks at the Workplace,
v. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and
vi. Professional Examination/Assessment.
The enforcement of appropriate workplace Health and Safety Standards will reduce work related stress and illnesses, musculoskeletal disorder, increase productivity and enhance service delivery and good governance for national development, amongst others.
M. A. Ahmed,
Deputy Director, Communications.
August 21, 2022.