AN EVALUATION OF HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE A CASE STUDY OF ONDO STATE CIVIL SERVICES

CHAPTER 1

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

 

Occupational Health as defined by the joint committee of the ILO/WHO (1950) is the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupation. It is further explained as the sum total of all activities and programs that are engaged upon, aiming to attain and maintain the highest level of health and safety for all people who are engaged in any type of work whatever. It involves the protection of workers' health from any hazard to which they may be exposed to in the work environment. It is a preventive and proactive approach which involves risk assessment, hazard identification, hazard mitigation, hazard elimination and treatment of work-related injuries.   There is a plethora of hazards (safety and health hazards) which people are exposed to in their jobs; from the formal industries (banking, oil and gas, textile, agricultural, construction, food and beverage etc.) to the informal (logging & sawmill, roadside mechanic, carpentry, local welders, pepper grinders, market traders etc.). Exposure to these hazards occurs for fairly long hours on a daily basis as the majority of the active hours of the day is spent at work (0800hours to 1600hours or 0900hours to 1700hours); at least 8 hours per day. These hazards include chemical, biological, physical, mechanical, psychological and ergonomic hazards. For any person affected, it could be either or a couple of the various forms of hazard. Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) activities are multifaceted and multidisciplinary. It relates to the effects of the working environment on the health and safety of workers, and also to the influence of the workers'' health on their ability to perform their job tasks. Its approach is preventive, rather than curative. SOME BENEFITS OF OHS .It is preventive and proactive in approach as it foresees, identifies and prevents hazards before they turn to bad occurrences with unexpected or unpredictable consequences. Prevention is effective, always better and less costly than treatment and rehabilitation (curative) ;Ensures workers'' health is not adversely affected by their work & work is not affected in return by poor health (mutual benefit) ;Fosters healthy workforce leading to increased productivity for the business owner and the economy at large (Workers well-being vs. productivity). Healthy workers are essential to the success of any organization, and are the best assets in any industry ;It also reduces work-related sickness absence. This is an invaluable cost-saving benefit to employers. Sickness absence is one of the main causes of economic loss to employers due to lost productivity/output/man-hour loss, and time and resources spent on sickness absence management ;It helps businesses to attain compliance with the relevant laws. It also helps businesses to save cost by reducing potential claims and litigations ;A business organization that is successful with the health and welfare of its workers enjoys goodwill (betters company image) which gives such business an edge. Some companies will only award contracts to contractors with health and safety provisions. It is another way of caring (health protection) for the public's health. Most of the health problems that people generally suffer from can be traced to work/job tasks (e.g. low back ache, respiratory problems, deafness, infertility, cancers etc.) THE STAKEHOLDERS IN OHS IN NIGERIA AND THEIR ROLES INCLUDES GovernmentLegislature: to pass the bill and make the relevant laws  Executives (ministry of health, ministry of labour, ministry of environment): to set up relevant agencies, make policies and implement the OHS regulations. Employers or business owners (government and organized private sector): to comply with the OHS regulations and also give useful feedbacks Employees: to comply with OHS regulations and perform their responsibilities Academic institutions: to carry out continuous educational training and researches in OHS ;OHS professionals: to help the government and public with professional advice and enlightenment, and also carry out the actual implementation of the OHS functions/duties WHY IS OHS NOT YET IN OPERATION IN NIGERIA ;OHS is legislation-driven but there are no proper OHS law/regulations in Nigeria. What operate are the old and obsolete factory laws which are limited in scope, and are not even implemented Lack of political will by the politicians and stakeholders to pass relevant laws and follow through its implementation. This may be due to their lack of knowledge about OHS There is need for our politicians, both the executives and legislators to really have the full grasp of OHS. This is necessary for developing the political will needed for the passage of the necessary OHS laws and their implementation ;Ignorance/lack of awareness: many people (employers, employees and the general public) do not understand what OHS is. They ignorantly and simply see it as operating staff clinic or sick bay where sick and injured staffs can be treated and first aid administered (reactive approach). OHS is beyond that; its main approach is proactive and preventive, which is cheaper than the curative. Furthermore, many people believe OHS is meant for the large scale, multinational and oil industries only Many employers do not understand how OHS can add value to their business; hence they see it as unnecessary. They see it as a cost-burden rather than cost-saving OHS is not emphasized in the training of health professionals in the country; hence there are not much professionals or specialists in the field There are very few academics and universities that teach courses in OHS (with population approx. 200 million) WHY NIGERIA NEEDS OHS ;A major credo of OHS which should never be compromised is that no business or job activity is   worth doing at the expense of people's health and safety. Therefore, people's health and safety must be put first, and provisions for such must be made before any business activity commences. That is why it is always said that ‘safety first'. (People: refers to workers, worksite visitors and the public who may be affected by the work activities) If Nigeria gets it right; Africa gets it right. Nigeria with the largest population in Africa (population of approximately 200 million) without OHS means a lot of people in Africa are exposed to occupational and safety hazards and continue to live with the consequences of such exposure. Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, with fast growing industrialization; there could therefore not be a better time for OHS to be implemented than now. Nigeria, tagged as the giant of Africa ought to lead by example. In addition, Nigeria was among the member nations that signed the OHS law at the 1981, Geneva Convention ;Since Nigeria aims to be amongst the top 20 most industrialized country in the world, having and implementing OHS will align her with global industrial best practices and standards as practiced by the current top industrialized countries of the world ;Majority of the employers and employees in small and medium scale businesses (formal and informal sectors) are ignorant of the hazards inherent in their jobs. They do not even know how or have the resources to protect themselves, hence the need for government to protect the health and safety of its citizen by implementing OHS. Nigeria's economy, at the moment have more people in the by the small and medium scale industries It will improve the life expectancy of Nigerians which currently stands at 52 since many deaths (unreported and unaccounted for) occur directly at work or at a later time from work-related injuries and exposures ;WHAT HAS TO BE DONE BEFORE OHS CAN OPERATE IN NIGERIA ;There must be the relevant laws (separate OHS regulations/laws different from the Labour laws or Compensation Act). Standard and comprehensive OHS regulations/guides should be made e.g. South Africa's National Occupational Health and Safety policy OHSSA (Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 from the South African Department of Labour), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in America, Health Safety Executive (HSE) regulations in the UK. Bills for such laws should be raised, read and passed into law with inputs from stakeholders. This is the first step because OHS is legislation-driven .Active and continuous awareness and information campaign must be embarked upon in order to get all the stakeholders and public on board. This is so that they can have OHS consciousness and embrace it e.g. stakeholders' lecture/seminar, public lecture etc. Proper implementation and strict enforcement: appropriate agencies (government and non-government) must be set up and made to roll into action once the laws are made. One of the problems with Nigeria is not just the absence of relevant laws but of non-enforcement of existing ones (though some of them may be old or inadequate) ;Training of personnel in various OHS activities; both in the government and private agencies. This should include training of OH nurses, OH physicians, ergonomists, safety engineers, industrial hygienists, microbiologists etc There must be continuous appraisal and review of the OHS regulations and standards in order to be sure they are still functional at achieving the purposes for which they were set up ;Making the provision of OHS one of the criteria to be fulfilled before some businesses (especially the ones with OHS hazard risks and the medium/large scale industry) are registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) or enlisted into and kept on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (SEC). Such measure will ensure compliance with OHS regulations by employers ;Will: "collective will"/political will must be present. It is about people (the government, employers and employees) wanting to and doing the right thing always ;WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS/GAINS OF OHS TO US AS A COUNTRY? Mortality and fatality rates will be reduced and life expectancy will increase as many lives are being lost to the various occupations people engage in Reduction in negative trends: occupational diseases/injuries have negative effects on workers, families and the country at large. Imagine the negative ripple effect that will occur when a family's breadwinner loses his or her life in the course of work (OHS death/injury). Wives/husbands will be widowed, children will be orphaned; such families begins to face untold hardship. These negative effects will in turn affect the country ;Improved overall health index: OHS is another way of caring for the public's health. It's a major aspect of public health protection and promotion. People's health and safety will be better protected at work ;It will add Nigeria to the league of countries practicing global standards with regards to OHS. This will give international recognition to Nigeria and enable her to assume the true leadership position she is known for in Africa ;Another important benefit of OHS implementation to Nigeria is massive job creation and employment thereby boosting the economy (achieving the economic vision 20-20)

 

 

 

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The benefit of the health and safety policy cannot be overemphasized in an economy characterized by underdevelopement

Poverty ,violence, threats, disease,corruptionetc Mortality and fatality rates will be reduced and life expectancy will increase as many lives are being lost to the various occupations people engage in ;Reduction in negative trends: occupational diseases/injuries have negative effects on workers, families and the country at large. Imagine the negative ripple effect that will occur when a family's breadwinner loses his or her life in the course of work (OHS death/injury). Wives/husbands will be widowed, children will be orphaned; such families begins to face untold hardship. These negative effects will in turn affect the country ;Improved overall health index: OHS is another way of caring for the public's health. It's a major aspect of public health protection and promotion. People's health and safety will be better protected at work ;It will add Nigeria to the league of countries practicing global standards with regards to OHS. This will give international recognition to Nigeria and enable her to assume the true leadership position she is known for in Africa ;

        It is however dishearthening to note that many organization in public and private sector do not obverse health and safety policy laws and programs

The current trend in Nigeria show that many lives have gone due to harzards of fire and accident in the factories, offices and work sites

        Therefore the problem confronting this research is to evaluate   health  and safety policy in the public service.with a case study of the ondo state

         Civil services

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1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION

1  What   is the nature of health and safety  policy in the public service

2 What is the significance of health and safety policy

3 What are the challenges  and limitations of health and safety policy

4 What is the nature and significance of health and safety  policy  in the ondo state civil service.

 

 

 

1.4 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

 

1         To  determine the nature and significance of health and safety policy in the public service

2         To determine the challenges and limitations of health and safety policy

3         To determine the nature , significance and challenges of health and safety policy in the ondo state civil service

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study shall profer a structural study on health and safety policy in the public service

It shall elucidates on the significance and determine the challenges .

It shall also serve as a veritable source of information to managers and institutions

 

 

 

1.6 STATEMENT OF THE HYPOTHESIS

 

1   Ho    employee health and safety in ondo state civil service is low

     Hi     employee health and safety inondo state civil service is high

 

2    Ho    Health and safety policy in ondo state civil service is not significant

       HI     Health and safety policy in ondo state civil service is significant

 

 

3     Ho effect of health and safety policy in ondo state civil service is low

       Hi    effect of health and safety policy in ondo state civil service is high

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

   The study focuses on the evaluation of health and safety policy in the public service with a case study of the ondo state

    Civil service

 

 

 

 

 

1.8    DEFINITION    OF TERMS

         HEALTH AND SAFETY

Occupational Health as defined by the joint committee of the ILO/WHO (1950) is the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupation. It is further explained as the sum total of all activities and programs that are engaged upon, aiming to attain and maintain the highest level of health and safety for all people who are engaged in any type of work whatever. It involves the protection of workers' health from any hazard to which they may be exposed to in the work environment. It is a preventive and proactive approach which involves risk assessment, hazard identification, hazard mitigation, hazard elimination and treatment of work-related injuries.  

 

HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY

health and safety policy is a written statement by an employer stating the company's commitment for the protection of the health and safety of employees and to the public. It is an endorsed commitment by management to its employees regarding their health and safety

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