Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, faction led by Comrade Joe Ajaero, yesterday said that statistics from International Labour Organisation, ILO, indicated that no fewer than 600 workers die daily as a result of work related accidents and diseases.
The NLC in a press briefing addressed by Comrade Ajaero to mark the occasion of World Day for Health and Safety, said judging from the ILO statistics, more people die at work than at wars and even natural disasters.
The address posited that beyond job related deaths, each year there are some 268 million non-fatal workplace accidents in which the victims miss at least three days of work as a result, as well as 160 million new cases of work related illnesses.
According to him, “The ILO estimates that occupational accidents and diseases result in annual 4 per cent loss in global gross domestic product, GDP or about 2.8 trillion US dollars in direct and indirect cost of injuries and diseases.”
Text of the briefing which was read by the deputy president, Comrade Issa Aremu, further stressed that in Nigeria in recent years, there had been pockets of safety disasters as in the case of boiler explosion in a distillery company in Otta in which two young workers lost their lives, adding that in September last year, a young worker lost his life at Lynda Manufacturing in the Iju area of Lagos.
“There are several cases of bodily injuries some reported to the union and several others happening in non-unionised workplaces with very little support and compensation for affected workers. The memories of scores of workers consumed in midnight inferno in a factory in Ikorodu area of Lagos are still fresh in our minds.
“Not less than 500 workers have died in terror-related violence in Maiduguri, Kano and Abuja.”
NLC stated also that occupational accident is not only applicable to industries, that it also affects workers in the informal sector, stressing that “the death and injury rate at workplace is obviously unacceptable given the overall impact it may create to the family, society and the country as a whole.
“The Nigeria Labour Congress calls on all stakeholders to join in building a culture of prevention on occupational safety and health at workplace,” NLC said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Joel Ikenya declaring open a symposium to commemorate the 2015 World Day for Safety and Health at Work in Abuja, called for coordinated multi-stakeholders and multi-sectoral cooperation in developing a preventive approach and safety culture critical to achieving sustainable improvements in safety and health standards in the workplace.
Represented by the permanent secretary, Dr. Clement Illoh, the minister stressed that in the nation’s bid for employment generation, there must be assurance of decent work as spelt out in the Harmonised National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health.