By Winnie Maina | Friday Sep 15, 2017
Nigeria is on course to passing the Occupational Safety and Health Bill (SB. 200). The bill which has undergone the second reading in the senate and is currently making its way through the committee on employment, labor and productivity, aims to ensure that millions of Nigerian workers are protected in the event of injury.
This Bill will put in place a legal framework that will develop and promote occupational safety standards that define the exposure limits to chemicals, other biological and physical agents. The bill also has measures to ensure that employers provide preventive mechanisms and procedures that will limit accidents and injuries at work places.
The bill also aims to combat child labor and contains a list of types of hazardous work prohibited to young persons under the age of 18 years as well as harmonize the various laws governing occupational safety and health (OSH) presently under the Factories Act, CAP F1, 2004 and the Employees‟ Compensation Act, 2010.
The country currently has in place a National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health developed in 2006, the goal of which is to facilitate the improvement of occupational safety and health performance in all sectors of the economy and ensure harmonization of workers’ rights protection with regional and international standards.
There is, however, no formal National OSH Management Systems that has been developed by OSH authorities in place at the moment, but the country adopts the ILO – OSH 2001 as a guide. The main national Competent Authority charged with the responsibility of promoting and enforcing OSH in the country is the Department of Occupational Safety and Health of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, which started in 1955 as the Factory Inspectorate Division. Other regulatory authorities identified are the Occupational Health and Safety Division of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Safety Commission.