The Lagos State Safety Commission on Wednesday said it will start inspection and enforcement of safety standard in work places.
Director General of the Commission, Lanre Mojola, who spoke at a meeting with stakeholders in the built industry in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, said the government had a duty to ensure the safety and health of workers.
He said enforcement was a subject that many leaders did not feel comfortable talking about mainly because it is associated with penalties, fines, stop-work orders, prohibition orders and other uncomfortable consequences, but noted that any society, organization, or team that did not enforce bad behaviour leading to unsafe practices was bound to fail due to the chaos that would be created.
“The government has a duty to ensure the safety and health of our workers. As such, we will be stepping up inspections and enforcement actions. We will commence intensive enforcement operations in January 2020 codenamed “Operation Zero Fatalities” to identify contraventions involving unsafe practices and lapses.
“Let me take this opportunity to say that we take no pleasure in issuing seal orders and fines to organizations as we fully understand the economic challenges organizations face. However, when it comes to occupational safety and health, we have to make sure that workplaces are safe for our workers. We get reports of loss of lives regularly and these MUST stop. We do not wish to lose more workers. As such, we must all do our part to ensure optimum safety on our sites and projects,” he said.
Mojola stated that the Commission was being repositioned for efficient and effective public service delivery and that the body would be stepping up safety advocacy and awareness programmes across the State, which he said was to ensure that “the Lagos of our dreams is healthier and safer in line with the THEMES Agenda of The Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.”
He stressed the need for evaluation in creating a safe workplace with a consistent process of identifying hazards and risks, adding that these could then be managed by having a Safety Management System in place.
“Our task is to ensure that organizations must routinely carry out these risk assessments and have them documented with Corrective & Preventive Action Plans. Through our engagement programme, we have commenced the process of meeting with different stakeholders across all the domains we regulate. This forum serves to listen to you and hear your views on how we can work together.
“With regards to our education programme, the goal is to ensure that we develop a strong safety culture where the message is to put Safety at the heart of everything from the design through the build stage to the maintenance stage. We do this by continuously creating awareness and sensitization programmes through offline and online platforms,” he explained.
Mojola disclosed that the commission would be embarking on compulsory occupational safety and health management training for all artisans and workers starting with a pilot phase in the first quarter of 2020.
He said the programme was in collaboration with the private sector, saying that upon completion of basic working safety courses, the artisans would be issued certificates and safety passports.
“Our task is to ensure that safety education, training and skills development be improved at all levels across the State. By improving the skill sets of these artisans, organizations will benefit from reducing downtime due to injuries and improve overall productivity and quality of delivery,” he said.