Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr. Fouad Oki has said that the State Government will soon present to the public a proposed subsidiary legislation on safety and health laws.
The DG stated this at the First Annual Workers’ Conference on Occupational Safety and Health organized by the Commission with the theme ‘More Than a Conference – It’s a Movement’, adding that the conference will afford the workers an opportunity to network, know their rights and roles as it affects safety.
“This forum will provide a platform for the engagement of both the employers and employees on their roles. We have taken cognizance of the high hazard and risk particularly in the manufacturing and construction sector, and we are working together with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment because there is need for a review of our laws,” he said.
He said that the Commission found out that there is lack of synergy between Labour employers and relevant stakeholders, adding that the state is moving in the right direction as it concerns workers’ welfare and protection.
“The challenge that we are having is that we are not getting reports and feedbacks workers. Apart from the members of the Fourth Estate, we don’t really get employees coming out to talk and this is part of the things we need to build capacity and protect them from work place hazard. We want to let them know that they have a voice,” he added.
Oki pointed out that the LSSC currently works with the Federal Complaint Commission and the Office of Public Defenders in the state to safeguard the interest of workers.
On his part, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator (Dr.) Chris Nwabueze Ngige, decried the exposure of workers to hazardous work environment, saying that it is totally unacceptable and calls for concerted effort and collaboration among stakeholders.
Ngige, who was represented by the Zonal Director, South West, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr. Mrs. Ifeoma Igwe-Anyanwutaku, stated that the federal government is committed more than ever before to eradicating unsafe and indecent work place in all ramification.
“In line with the change mantra of the present administration, efforts towards ensuring safe, healthy and decent work place for all is now a foremost priority. This is with a view towards eradicating poverty and achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development that translates to a positive change in the lives of Nigerians,” he said.
The Minister stated that a national policy on occupational safety and health as well as a system inspection to enforce compliance with occupational safety and health legislation has been put in place by the federal government.
According to him, the aim is to achieve widespread coverage of labour inspection services nationwide through extension of services to cover the largest possible number of working people in all economic sectors including those engage in informal sector.
While maintain that the Factories Act CAP F1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 remains in force as the principal occupational safety and health legislation in Nigeria despite its shortcomings and restrictions, Ngige disclosed that the Labour Safety, Health and Welfare Bill which is to repeal and re-enact the Factories Act, has been submitted since the 5th National Assembly but yet to be passed into law.
“The bill has made adequate provisions for safety and health for all workers including those engaged in the informal sector,” he noted.