Having a well-functioning OSH system, and the need to take further steps to improve it, can have a positive impact on workers, employers and the entire Nigerian society, as it can reduce human suffering, improve working conditions, increase productivity and promote economic development.
According to Article 3 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 187 Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006, each Member State is required to create a National Policy to promote safety and health at work.
Nigeria has a revised OSH policy in 2020, with a three-year review period, which allows the country to continuously improve its OSH profile. However, there is still a lack of policy and practice in Nigeria when it comes to OSH.
Some of the reasons for this are that there is not enough political will and determination from the government or other stakeholders to make OSH a national development priority, as well as a lack of human resources and capital to administer, inspect and train OSH.
Nigerian workers face a number of challenges when it comes to OSH, including low awareness and knowledge, the prevalence of informal economic activities, precarious working conditions and low wages, as well as a lack of social protections and representation. To address these issues, the Federal Government has launched a stakeholder review of the existing policy to create a new national OSH profile. The objective of this review is to identify new tools to promote effective OSH management across the country.
This review is part of a larger effort to strengthen OSH management in Nigeria. It is a joint effort between the FME and ILO, and is a sign of Nigeria’s determination to protect its labour force and revive its economy for the better health and wellbeing of its citizens.
Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Ms. Onyejechiea, said that the review is necessary to ensure a coordinated response, while also emphasizing the role and responsibilities of those involved in the national OSH management system.