The Department of Factories Inspectorate (DFI) of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR) has commemorated this year’s 2018 “World Day for Safety and Health at Work” at the Royale Nick Hotel in the Tema Metropolis.

The event themed “Build Safe and Healthy Workplaces for Young Workers and Our Future Generation” brought together factory inspectors from both the Private Sector and the Public Sector.

This included officers from the DFI, the Fire Service, Hybrid Ghana, Valco, Tema Lube Oil, GHACEM, Wilmar, and HEIDELBERG CEMENT GROUP. Also present were representatives from the Ghana Employers Association and other labour union groups.

In his key note address, the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Hon. Ignatius Baffour Awuah, acknowledged the significance of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) at the workplace and said it is an undisputable key to the full attainment of decent work agenda in Ghana.

The Minister stated however that there is an overwhelming evidence where Ghanaian workforce, particularly young ones are being exposed to workplace risks and hazards. He said that “in recent times, there have been countless accidents at the workplaces, many of which could have been avoided if the necessary OSH management systems had been put in place”.

The Minister reiterated therefore that there must be a conscious effort to include OSH programmes while investing in the employment, education, training, skills development and job creation of young ones so as to accelerate the rapid economic development the nation envisages.

He also disclosed that young workers under the age of 18 are recognised in law and policy as a vulnerable group of people who are to be provided with special protection. Contrary, young workers between the ages of 18 and 24 do not receive comparable legal recognition or levels of protection in their work places, despite their continuing and increased risk of injury, he added.

According to him, statistics from the Ghana Living Standard Survey Round 6 (GLSS 6) reveals that, about 1. 9 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are involved in Child Labour, and out of this number, 1.2 million in the same age group are engaged in hazardous forms of child labour. This trend, the Minister bemoaned continues to worsen as more children get involved in child labour.

He also recalled the effort he put in place to have Cabinet approve the National Plan of Action 11 (NPA 2) for the eradication of child labour and its worst forms. He was hopeful that the approval and subsequent implementation of the OSH Policy and Bill will help transform and harmonise the current uncoordinated and almost chaotic OSH management regime for improved workplace safety and employee welfare in Ghana.  

In order to end this child labour menace, the minster called on government, social partners and stakeholders to take a comprehensive and urgent action to address the canker. Typically, the minister advocated that all should intensify their actions toward the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 8.7 and 8.8 if we are indeed committed to building a generation safe and healthy workers. 

The programme, sponsored by Valco, Wilmar, Tema Lube Oil Company and Hybrid dgm Ghana Limited also ended with a safety competition among these sponsors and Valco was adjudged the winner.



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