Doctor urges parliament to pass ‘over-aged’ Occupational Health Hazard Bill

A medical officer at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Dr. Augustine Adoliba Ayanoore has called on parliament pass the Occupational Health Hazard bill which he said has now over-aged. The passage of the bill, he said, will compel various organisations to set up occupational health teams at their work environments to prevent unnecessary occupational related health problems and deaths. In his view, the bill has overstayed its maturity age and is gathering cobwebs in parliament, hence deserves to be passed without any further delays. Dr Ayanoore also asked employers to punish employees who consistently flout safety rules and regulations, saying the cost benefit analysis shows organizations which insist on safety precautions make positive gains. He observed the cost of treating employees’ accidents, including death,  has crippled many companies across the world. Dr. Ayanoore was speaking at the safety week programme of the Integrated Recycling and Compost Plant (IRECOP) in Accra where he was consulting for the Cosmopolitan Medical Centre. He said there must be a medical team at every work environment to be responsible for managing accidents and hazard cases which occur. This team, he said, will primarily stabilize conditions before referring them the victims to bigger health facilities for secondary controls. It is imperative for employees to also religiously abide by safety rules and regulations for their own good since work place accidents and hazards have the ability to make them permanently disable or kill them, and their families will be the ones to suffer because of the employees’ own negligence, he noted.Dr. Ayanoore held that in every sector of life, one must be concerned about their health in order to avoid unnecessary and untimely deaths. General Manager of IRECOP, Ms Betty Brown Nyadu stated that any organization which does not take the safety and health concerns of its employees does not deserve to operate in recent times. “The vision of IRECOP is to inculcate healthy and safety policies and procedures in all aspects of management decisions and to protect employees by arriving at an Accident free work environment” she stated. She explained the purpose of the safety week by the company which is less than a year in operation was to further educate the employees on safety and health. It was also to allow the workers to be audited to find out safety gaps and draw corrective measures to some of their operational standards and procedures. In contemporary times, safety has moved from a voluntary option to an inevitable choice in management practice, thus every manager should endeavour to take health and safety issues very critically to forestall the loss of lives and the payment of unnecessary claims, she said. Ms Nyadu said the Ghana Labour Act makes it mandatory for the employer to put premium on health and safety by minimizing hazards at the work place, stating that is a position she greatly shares in. “Many companies have resolved to the fact that being safe in the workplace is just the provision of reflector, boots and helmets for staff; but suffice it to say safety is in the mind – safety indicates our commitment to do things right and report activities that has the potential to cause harm and an unsafe environment”, Ms Nyadu recommended. Over 200 staff were screened for various diseases and recommendation made to them to that effect.

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