National Occupational Safety and Health bill languishes in Cabinet for 31 years

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Photo: Participants at the second edition of the Health, Environment, Safety and Security Awards, HESS, at Kempinski Hotel, Accra

The National Occupational Safety and Health bill, a comprehensive bill that seeks to promote a safe work environment for all stakeholders, is still languishing at Cabinet-level after more than 30 years.

First introduced to Cabinet in 1989, the bill – according to Fred Ohene Mensah, Chief Inspector in Charge of Factories at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, has appeared twice at the subcommittee level of Cabinet, but is yet to move from Cabinet to lawmakers in Parliament.

“As we speak, we have met Cabinet to approve a new Occupational, Safety and Health bill in the country that would really change the face of health and safety in Ghana. We need corporate Ghana to push the government to make health and safety a security risk. We need laws to be enforced and we need people to advocate and talk about health and safety laws, which are currently fragmented.

“The way forward is that the industry must begin to push and make noise about the National Occupational Safety and Health bill that is presently in cabinet. The bill began its journey in 1989 and is still at the cabinet level. Health and safety is paramount, and we [practitioners, employees and employers] must all work together to get the National Occupational Safety and Health bill passed,” Mr. Mensah said.

He was speaking as a guest of honour at the second edition of the Health, Environment, Safety and Security Awards, HESS, which came off at the Kempinski Hotel, Accra. The event was on the theme ‘Recognising outstanding achievements and celebrating excellence and innovation focused on occupational health, safety, security and environment’.

Mr. Mensah urged all nominees and award-winners to continue pursuing zero-accident work environments since that will make them preferred workplaces for the youth and future workforce of Ghana.

The ceremony saw blue-chip companies and celebrated individuals in industry honoured for their commitment toward the health and safety of employees, workplaces and other stakeholders. On the night, Joshob Construction received the Special Judges Award for Best Corporate Response to COVID-19 for the creation of a daily temperature record system for all employees, to enable early detection of COVID-19-infected people.

For special recognition, Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong was honoured with the Industry Leadership Award (Waste Management); Kwaku Ennin was honoured with the HESS Exemplary Leadership Award, and Mukesh V. Thakwani received the Leadership Excellence in the Integration of HESS award.

Other winners on the night included HESS Company of the Year, Goldfields Ghana; Management of Driving Safety (MODS) Excellence Award, Consolidated Shipping Agency; Manufacturing Facility Excellence Award, B5 Plus; HESS CEO of the Year, Macdonald Vasnani; HESS Manager of the Year, Emmanuel Isaac-Aryee; CSR Excellence Award, Goldfields Ghana; and Best Company in HESS Compliance, Reporting & Monitoring, Goldfields Ghana.

Others include Best Company in Fire Safety and Security Management Practices, Blue Ocean Investments; Best Company in Environmental Management Practices, Zeal Environmental Tech; Best Company in Health and Safety Management Practices, Petrosol; Best Company in Employee Safety and Security Management Practices, Puma Energy; Best Community Involvement Hospital/Clinic, St. John’s Hospital & Fertility Centre; Best Company in Health & Safety Campaign, Puma Energy; and Sustainability & Operational Excellence Award, Baj Freight & Logistics.

Best Company in Environmental Protection Campaign, Goldfields Ghana; Most Security and Safety Conscious Company of the Year, Blue Ocean Investments; Safer Logistics Company of the Year, Baj Freight & Logistics; Best Company in on-site Safety Awareness and Communication, Zeal Environmental Tech; HESS Team of the Year, Gold Fields Ghana; Best Company in Customer Safety and Security Management Practices Petrosol; Food Facility Excellence Award, Transatlantic Catering Services; Most Environmentally Friendly Waste Management Company, Zoomlion; and Food Safety Company of the Year (Catering Services), Extrail Support Services.

The rest include Food Safety Company of the Year (Hospitality) – Kempinski Hotel; Service Station Facility Excellence Award – Petrosol; Construction Safety Company of the Year – Joshob Construction; Healthcare Facility Excellence Award – Lapaz Community Hospital; Best Company in Product Safety & Quality Management Practices – B5 Plus; Waste Management Innovation Award – Zoomlion; Best Company in Process Safety & Quality Management Practices -Transatlantic Catering Services; Waste Management & Recycling Facility Excellence Award – Zoomlion; Best Public Health Awareness Education Initiative Award – Zoomlion.

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