Occupational Health and Safety knowledge increases productivity – COTVET

Knowledge in Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) and its practice contributes greatly to the building of a safe learning and working environment and eventually increases productivity, the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) has stated.

Madam Phyllis Andoh, the Administrative Manager, COTVET, said globally, it was estimated that work-related accidents and illnesses led to about two million fatalities per year.

She said while this was disturbing in itself, it was likely that many occupational deaths and injuries were not reported.

Speaking at a stakeholder orientation workshop on OH&S in Accra, Madam Andoh said COTVET as a coordinator of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) activities in Ghana, and also an employer, valued the health and safety of all employees, students and other individuals in the TVET sector.

She explained that as a result, COTVET had adopted a policy to promote the health and safety of these categories of people.

“This is done through promoting a learning and workplace culture where students and employees are supported and encouraged to adhere to health and safety practices,” she said. 

The workshop was organised for participants to validate the OH&S manual, since it would serve as a guide for promoting and institutionalising OH&S practices in TVET institutions and workplaces.Madam Andoh said the Council worked in partnership with employees, students and their representatives to develop and implement measures to eliminate and minimise the risk of injury and illness.

She said the poorest, least protected, least informed and least trained workers faced the highest risks in terms of work-related accidents and illnesses.

“The most vulnerable people including students, women, children, persons with disabilities among others are sadly more prone to becoming victims,” Madam Andoh said.

“It is interesting to know that these victims and their families faced extreme poverty, in addition to the physical and psychological consequences.

“The fact is that on-the-job accidents don’t just ‘happen’ – they are caused and causes can be addressed, and the suffering can be also be prevented,” she added.

Madam Andoh noted that in a growing number of learning environment, workplaces, employees and employers are demonstrating through cooperation and dialogue that it was possible to create safer, healthier workplaces – and, at the same time, to improve productivity and organisational performance.

She said workers were required to perform their daily task in a safe manner that was compliant with the OH&S manual and the safety trainings received within their various learning environment.

She said in a global economy, companies that paid sufficient attention to the issue of OH&S enjoyed increased competitiveness. Madam Andoh expressed gratitude to the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) for assisting the Council on the development of the OH&S manual.

WUSC is Canadian non-profit organisation dedicated to providing education, employment and empowerment opportunities for young people.Madam Abena Adubea Acheampong, the Country Director, WUSC Ghana, said it worked to support the development and improvement of livelihoods for farmers; especially the youth and women adding that WUSC was also promoting the girl child education, as well as investing in TVET.

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