Saturday, April 13, 2024

Culture of safety and health vital to all


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PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harry Husbands, believes part of the struggle in the area of safety and health relates not so much to the laws or acts governing it, but to the building of a culture of safety and health.

Addressing an expo today on Today’s Tools For Workplace Success in Health, Safety, Security and Environment, at Accra Beach Hotel, Senator Husbands stressed this was the starting point for the entire process.

Observing that that there had been incremental changes seen, he commended Pinnacle Safety Solutions, sponsors of the workshop, and expressed the hope that their work was beginning to bear fruit. Participants were also told that along with building this culture on safety and health, there was a case to be made for the value of safety and health to businesses. 

“We in the area of safety and health and human resource management, need to  convince those people in the board room and the accountants that there is value to the business of investing in safety and health – that safety and health is not additional; it is not an add on,” Husbands declared.

Pointing to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Senator Husbands emphasised that safety and health was to be looked at in its broadest sense, not merely relating to personal protective equipment, the temperature of a room or ergonomics.

He contended that it should not be left to those on the shop floor only to address safety and health issues. “It is my view that this has to be driven by the people in the board room; so, if the director comes on the floor of the enterprise, whatever the rules are they must apply to him. So, because you are the General Manager, you cannot walk on to the construction site in slippers and a baseball cap. The reputation and cultural issues have to be driven by the employers,” he said, reminding participants that the Act stipulated penalties for anyone who sought to ignore issues of safety and health.

The former labour management relations practitioner also noted that a business case could be made with respect to cost and risk reduction. He explained that an insurance company might pay special attention to risk issues or safety and health issues in the workplace when trying to determine its premium for businesses and public liability. “Your premium will increase if you have a poor record of people falling in the workplace… it would be more costly for you to get insurance depending on your safety record,” Husbands stated.

Other issues to which the Parliamentary Secretary urged those gathered to pay special attention included improved air quality, improved productivity, employee morale, as well as cultural issues relating to companies venturing into regional and international markets. (BGIS)


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