President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has stated that the Senate will give accelerated consideration to the Occupational Safety and Health Bill (SB. 200), once the National Assembly resumes from its annual recess later this month.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the Senate President emphasized that with the nation’s focus on economic growth — through the greater participation of the private sector — it was necessary to update the laws to guarantee the safety and health of Nigerian workers in order to protect them from avoidable injuries at their places of work.
“The Occupational Safety Bill, which has undergone Second Reading and is currently making its way through the Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, will help to ensure that millions of Nigerian workers are protected in the event of injury.
“This Bill will also guarantee safe and healthy working conditions for Nigerian workers by putting in place a legal framework that will develop and promote occupational safety standards that define the exposure limits for chemicals, other biological and physical agents.
“This Senate takes the health and wellbeing of Nigerian workers very seriously. They are the back-bone and lifeblood of our nation’s economy. This is why this Bill sponsored by Senator Duro Faseyi, also ensures that employers provide preventive mechanisms and procedures that will limit accidents and injury at places of work.
“Furthermore, as much as we are pushing for the prevention of workplace hazards through this updated piece of legislation, we are also specifying a legislative framework that will ensure the compliance of all work places, employees and employers that will fall under this law,” Saraki said.
The President of the Senate also stated that the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, would cover both the formal and the informal sector, and repeal the Factories Act, by making comprehensive provisions for issues that relate to occupational safety and health in the workplace.
“Now more than ever, we need to end the largely unregulated practice of employers exposing hardworking Nigerians to dangerous and improper working conditions. The first step to achieving this objective is to update our laws to mitigate against the negatives that exist in many workplaces around the country. Doing this will safeguard Nigerian workers all over the country,” he said.