WorldStage Newsonline-- With concern over neglect of issues of occupational health and safety in the workplace across Nigeria, the Federal Government has said it will henceforth strictly enforce Factories Act of 1990 as it concern occupational health and safety.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige who spoke when a delegation from the Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers visited him in his office, said it was regrettable that the occupational safety and health component of labour activity in the country had been taken for granted and neglected.
He pointed out that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) had drawn attention to the lack of personnel in the area by most African countries.
He said: "We are geared up towards implementing and enforcing those laws, because we have enough labour laws in this country to cater for occupational Health and safety of the workers and the employers.
"Nigeria has a enough laws, but it is enforcement that is the problem. Today, C of Os are given, building plans are approved without input from occupational health and safety engineers and the Occupational Health and Safety Department of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. So, realising that, I decided to awaken that department."
Ngige said the government was making plans to employ health inspectors, factories inspectors, among others to strengthen the department, adding that the Federal Civil Service Commission will soon issue letters for employment of those qualify to fill the vacancies in the Occupational Health and Safety Department of the Ministry.
He disclosed that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) have observed that most African countries have personnel deficiency in the area of occupational health and safety.
He stressed that the department was "not only populated by inspectors, but with people who studied micro biology, medical sciences, engineers, environmentalists, among others.
"It is an all encompassing department which needs to be fortified to do its work and safety engineers are major part of this particular assignment. So, we will partner with you and from time to time need your assistance in the area of consultancy, technical assistance and please do not fail to give it to us."
Speaking earlier, Patron of the institute, Sen. Iyiola Omisore decried the way and manner Nigerians observe occupational Health and Safety regulations in the country.
Omisore said occupational health and safety has been "taken for granted and people have gotten use to it already and it is now becoming an abnormal thing. As people go ahead to build without approval for factory sits production as they do not pass through safety rules for compliances".
Omisore said research has showed that Nigeria has lost about N1. 4 trillion in terms of properties, lives, fire hazard, building collapse, bridges collapse among others to noncompliance of safety regulations.
He said, "That is why we are trying to bring the campaign of safety consciousness in Nigeria across board and we want to employ this ministry to partner with the institution to awaken the department of safety."
National Chairman of the Institution, Biodum Oyedepo said that the institution would support and ensure a maximum enforcement of the Factories Act of 1990, among others.