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Nigeria operating obsolete Health, Occupational Safety Law — Advocacy Group

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Lagos, July 13, 2019 Health and Safety Practitioners under the aegis of Safety Advocacy Group (SAG) on Thursday called for the repeal of the 2004 Factory Law because it was obsolete and did not conform with modern realities.

The practitioners made call at the Serie-2 Colloquium in honour of a safety icon, Dr Bamisayo Oluwagbemi, held at De Rembrandt Hotel, Ikeja.

The theme of the posthumous colloquium is “Legacy of Service and People-Safety in Contemporary Nigeria”.

Speaking on behalf of SAG, Mr Jamiu Badmos, said it was pathetic that Nigeria still operated under an obsolete occupational health and safety law which did not conform to modern day realities.

“Today, there is no law that is in tune with the modality, so we are calling on government to look into what it should do to improve occupational health and safety law in Nigeria.

“It is pathetic that we are still operating the 2004 Factory Act which is obsolete, a an Act that only made provision of N5,000 penalties for defaulters of occupational health safety.

“In Nigeria, many had lost their lives to occupational hazards, while may have been deformed or have their limbs cut off, this won’t happen if we have a law to protect them.

“There are some things we need to take a critical look at because in other climes the have well cut out occupational health and hazard laws to protect their citizens, we need to copy that,” he said.

Badmos said that even the existing factory law was not well implemented because of lack of personnel to carry out the enforcement.

“Even many don’t know the meaning of the term `factory laws’; it is about two or more people engaged in activities; that means our offices can be classified as factories.

“The factory law in which we are implementing in Nigeria has not been fully implemented because we lack adequate capacity to enforce the law; imagine the number of factories we have in Nigeria.

“The factory laws are domicile in the ministry of labour and productivity, but the reality is that it has not been functional.

“I want to say that in other climes, breach of occupational health safety standards is a grievous offence, but in Nigeria, it is something we can overlook because we don’t value life that much,” he said.

Badmos said that Nigeria did not lack personnel to handle operational law for Occupational Health but it lacked political will to enforce the law.

“In Nigeria today, we lack operational health law not because we don’t have the professionals that can drive the sector. We have professionals who are interested is saving lives but we lack enabling environment.

“People are dying on the account of road accidents, fire outbreaks and building collapse because we failed to adhere to the safety standards or better still, we lack enforcement.

“We need to come together and look into the challenges militating against the occupational health and safety laws. For us, all these accidents are preventable.

“Occupational accidents happen because we are not adhering to basic rules right from the construction of buildings because there are some standards those building should pass,” he said.

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