Pass the Occupational Safety and Health (OHS) Bill into Law in Ghana.

Pass the Occupational Safety and Health (OHS) Bill into Law in Ghana.

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Just Commit Foundation started this petition to Ghana The Parliament of Ghana and the Council of State, Ghana

#passghoshbillnow

SUMMARY:

The Safety and Health Bill has been in parliament over 3 decades, but safety and health is a matter of life and death. Most cases of COVID-19 in Ghana are work related. Workers are not aware of ILO and WHO SHE guidelines.

All workers have resumed work due to the lifting of the lockdown in Ghana.

However the Occupational Health, Safety (OSH) guidelines (Section 118-120) of the Labour Act 651, Regulations 2003 is not detailed enough, excludes some sectors such as security services, does not specify government actors, does not ratify with International Labour Organization (ILO) standards, has not been implemented enough in our fight against COVID-19 and beyond to ensure that employers and employees are healthy, safe, insured, well-taken care of, compensated in case of COVID-19 infection and death. There are also fragements of the OSH laws for some institutions through the Factories, Offices and Shops Act 1970, (Act 328), the Mining Regulations 1970 (LI 665), and the Labour Act 2003 (Act 561), Ghana Health Service Act and many more Acts which does not provide an Integrated approach to the national management of OSH.

Therefore there is an urgent need for the Parliament of Ghana to ensure the review and passing and implementation of an Integrated National Occupational Health, Safety and Environment Bill to ensure that:

1. All Institutions implement Occupational Safety and Health(OHS) systems including Policy to ensure OHS training and PPEs use.

2. Inspection, Monitoring and Evaluation of OHS systems by the government and non-government agencies. 

3. Employers and employees are healthy, safe, insured, well-taken care of, compensated in case of COVID-19 infection and death.

 

By Janix Asare: Contact: +233 209 54 17 16 (Just Commit Foundation)

                               Email: janixasare@gmail.com

 And Contact National Safety Council- Ghana on 020 111 0066/020 111 0044

 

More details:

The National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and adjoining Bill has been oscillating between the Ministry of Employment, Cabinet and Parliament in the last two decades. Over the years, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), which is responsible for ensuring the safety and health protection of workers in the country through the formulation and enforcement of labour policies, laws, standards, systems and regular inspections of workplaces, has not been effective in these regards. The enforcement program is bedeviled with legal, structural and operational challenges that must be addressed for effective and efficient Occupational Safety and Health administration in Ghana. In recent times, there have been a lot of reports about the increasing trend of accidents occurring at workplaces in Ghana due to fire outbreaks and exposure to other hazards. These reported accidents and the resultant casualties have had negative effects on productivity and consequently economic performance.

According to the 2020 Public Safety and Crime Report a total of 1,115 persons who might be on their way to work or returning from work lost their lives or got seriously injured. Road crashes alone constitutes a whopping 67% of accidental deaths in Ghana. The trend at the workplace itself is no better, comparing 2019 to 2020. The Bureau recorded 67% increase in reported incidents under the Fire and Workplace index of the 2020 report, this translated into an 83% increase in deaths arising of Fires and Workplace Incidents and over 100% injuries. With such alarming statistics staring us in the face from various places of work, we cannot sit and watch unconcerned. The National Safety Council, Ghana joined in an effort to collect signatures of Ghanaians to submit a petition to Government to pass the National OSH Policy and adjoining Bill immediately.

After the promulgation of the Factories, Offices and Shops Act (FOSA) in 1970, other legal regulations followed to complement its enforcement and the management of OSH in other economic sectors as stated earlier but since its promulgation more than forty years ago, the FOSA has not seen any significant changes. The British Workplace Safety and Health Legislation, the Factories Act 1961, on which the FOSA was even fashioned, was undergoing changes at the time the FOSA was being drafted in Ghana. The amendment to FOSA Law, 1983 (PNDC66) empowered the Department of Factories Inspectorate (DFI) to charge fees for the registration of factory premises. The lack of a comprehensive amendment of the FOSA has made it outdated in relation to rapid changes in OSH legislation worldwide in order to take account of current technological advancements and the challenges of globalization.

Furthermore, the FOSA aside its limitation in industrial scope, has been found to be too specific and not based on the duty of care principle of OSH legislation by which the employer is required to take measures which are reasonable and practicable to protect the worker, especially in the case where injury to the worker is foreseeable. Therefore, there is the need for review and amendment of the current legal regime in order to make it relevant to modern socio-economic trends and conditions.

The current situation with different legislation for different sectors has led to fragmentation of OSH policy, thus making it difficult for policy makers, particularly those in the Ministry responsible for the safety and welfare of workers, and implementers, to coordinate OSH issues. There is therefore the need for a coordinating policy framework and a bill that addresses OSH issues in a harmonized and coordinated manner.

Article 24(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana states that, inter alia “Every person has the right to work under satisfactory, safe and healthy conditions”, this guarantee the safety, health and welfare of persons employed at workplaces in Ghana. Article 36(10) also states, “the State shall safeguard the health, safety and welfare of all persons in employment, and shall establish the basis for the full deployment of the creative potential of all Ghanaians”. These constitutional provisions mean that all persons working both in the formal and informal economies, including self-employed persons, are to be protected by ensuring that they work under safe conditions devoid of any adverse effects on their health. It behooves the government to ensure that the safety, health and wellbeing of persons at work are safeguarded in line with these constitutional provisions.

 

 

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At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!