We need an Authority to monitor various Occupational safety and health programmes

Occupational Health and Safety

The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations is pushing for a law that will establish an Authority to monitor and supervise various Occupational safety and health (OSH) programmes and activities at the workplace.

Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, said the country needed a harmonized monitoring and guidelines regime in supervising issues relating to OSH activities.

Mr Baffour Awuah was speaking at the 61st Annual General Meeting of the Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA) in Accra on the theme: “Enhancing Business Confidence in the Pandemic Era.”

The Minister said most Ghanaians disregard issues of OSH but available data showed that workplace accidents were common these days.

He said in most cases, some of these accidents could be averted, if precautions were taken, explaining that most workplaces do not observe basic safety rules and regulations.

“It is about time we take a serious look at this,” he said.

Mr Baffour Awuah called on organisations to up their OSH programmes and guidelines to protect their workers from unnecessary accidents.

The Minister said the Ministry was in the process of reviewing the Labour Act, which had been used over the years.

“We have identified the challenges associated with the Act, which needed to be looked at because we need an Act which will be more friendly to business and also responsive to the needs of workers and government,” he said.

Mr Michael Okyere Baafi, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, said indeed the widespread ruins of the COVID-19 Pandemic, had exposed the global economy and its supply chains to constraints that still linger and may extend for a while, creating uncertainties in the business environment.

However, he said, the Ministry was implementing the industrial transformation agenda, a private sector-led, with the government providing the enabling environment and sector-specific incentive regime for industrial growth.

He said there was also the development of strategic anchor industries to transform the industrial landscape, including integrated bauxite and aluminium industry, iron and steel, petrochemical industry, vehicle assembly and automotive industry among others.

The Minister said under the Trade Development Programme, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) also presented additional opportunities for growing and promoting Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Businesses.

He assured stakeholders of the Government’s continued commitment to working to ensure a thriving business environment that yielded positive returns for all.

Mr Dan Acheampong, President of GEA, said Government acted swiftly through the implementation of the flagship Ghana CARES Programme, together with CAP-BUSS, to drive the stabilization and revitalization of the economy.

He commended Government for the bold and timely policy initiative with the level of continuous engagement of employers and other business associations in the policy formulation process.

The President said the year 2022 would present employers with yet another great opportunity to move forward with their businesses, create wealth and open significant employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth.

He said the ability of employers to harness the opportunity sustainably, would very much depend on the prevailing environment for doing business.

“Positive happenings within Government policy circles and the industrial relations climate will be a catalyst for business progress,” he said.

He said a macroeconomic environment devoid of external and internal shocks would present a fair ground for employers to exploit to offset their losses and grow their businesses.

Mr Acheampong said certainty in the macroeconomic environment was the linchpin to strategic business thinking and planning.

Predictability on the macroeconomic front will therefore rank high amongst the business and economic aspirations of employers in 2022 and beyond.

“We urge Government to do everything within its power to ensure that the Ghana CARES programme is effectively implemented with the involvement of all key stakeholders to create a conducive business environment to enable employers to recover rapidly from all the pandemic related challenges,” he added.

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