Health and safety management is becoming part of business culture in Liberia, but the state still lacks a comprehensive safety policy.
Safety management quality motivates employees to work in dangerous environments, wrote Front Page Africa Online.
Safety management had already undergone “tremendous reform” to protect society, and is appreciated by employers and employees.
FPAO wrote in an opinion column, that it was the obligation of the Liberian government to create and promote safety policies aimed at protecting workers from workplace injuries, death, and associated illnesses.
“Environmental health and safety policy and management are important components of a safe work environment… and regulation should be the hallmark that provides protection for Liberian workers.
“Safety management and regulations should help maintain a wide-ranging of safety standards and they should be required by law.
“Establishing a comprehensive safety policy would enable companies in Liberia to aggressively pursue accident prevention initiatives at all levels of their operation.
“Liberia’s environmental health and safety policy must have the propensity to empower senior management to provide an alternative technique of protection for its employees, thus preventing workplace accidents.
“Negative safety behaviors have led to systematic safety failures and deficiencies at the Liberia Agriculture Company a few years ago.”
Liberia needs a NOSH Act
Safety policy and management failures often lead to accidents, neglect, abuse and other health related cases, wrote the Liberian newspaper.
“The Liberian government needs to establish a comprehensive safety and regulatory policy that will lead to the enactment of the National Occupational Safety and Health Act of Liberia, geared toward protecting Liberian workers nationwide.
“If established, the Act should call for the periodic review, inspection, and implementation of policies and procedures for occupational health and safety measures that affect thousands of workers around nationwide.
“The Liberian government should initiate vigorous safety, legislative reforms and policies that include: health and safety inspections that seek to identify potential deficiencies, worksite analysis, management leadership, employee participation, hazard prevention, emergency response, safety and health training, accident prevention and other measures.
“Integrated safety policy would be the hallmark that scrutinizes any Liberian firm’s obligations to protect workers from work-related hazards and reveals a clear analysis of how the regulation is implemented.
“Integrated safety policy will also provide safety information to employers and employees regarding potential hazards in the workplace as well as address the current health and safety needs at the national level.
“These policies should be integrated into employer’s environmental health and safety programs, goals, and objectives within an inclusive “safety” management structure of all companies operating in Liberia.
“The Liberian government should place emphasis on recognizing the need to shape and reinforce its current regulations to reduce injuries and fatalities. The government should also focus its attention on fostering greater partnerships with worker unions in the private and public sectors and employees because it will motivate whistle-blowers to report all health and safety violations from within.
“Government should establish a safety policy initiative that provides periodic job safety assessments to identify potential hazards and reveal conditions such as abuse, neglect and other willful violations in the workplace.
“This will strengthen the government enforcement policy and lessen all impending danger in the workplace. It will also serve as the basis for fundamental health and safety standards and continued performance improvements, thus leading to the reduction of workplace injuries and illness in Liberia.”
Labour skills must rise
Meanwhile Liberian Labour Minister Neto Zarzar Lighe has challenged tertiary institutions in Liberia to provide the requisite training for students to meet the demands of the job market.
Lack of professionally-trained Liberian technicians is creating serious manpower gap in concession areas in the country. He called on tertiary education bodies to provide “a basket of diversified skilled professionals to promote and sustain growth and development”, reported Liberia News Agency.
He noted that to achieve Vision 2030, Liberia needs to prepare its tertiary institutions to imbue Liberians with the requisite professional skills both in academic and technical areas to enhance the human resource capacity of the country.
He stressed that without developing the nation’s human resource capacity in the needed skills for multi-national concessions, it will be difficult to address the current unemployment situation.
Liberian Labour minister Lighe emphasized that while government is succeeding in increasing foreign investments and supporting the growth of Liberia’s private sector, it is essential to create and improve job opportunities.
- Sources: Adapted from Front Page Africa Online, Emmanuel Logan, ESHCON. Liberia News Agency (LINA).