As lack of occupational safety and health culture continue to pose a serious threat to the lives of employees in the country, the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has stressed the need for all workers to be registered with the scheme through their employers.
The deputy general manager, Health, Safety and Environment (NSITF), Kabikiwa Tesh, made this known yesterday, during a roadshow, organised by the scheme to mark this year’s world day for safety and health at work, themed: “generation safe and healthy”.
He said that the roadshow was to inform, as many that will hear, particularly as the International Labour Organisation this year, is focusing on the need to improve the safety of young workers.
According to him, the NSITF was established by decree No 73 of 1993, the core mandate of implementing the Employee’s Compensation Act, 2010.
He said the Act makes provision for compensation in the case of death, injury, diseases or disability in the course of employment while also mandating the NSITF to combine efforts and resources of relevant stakeholders for the prevention of workplace disability, including the enforcement of occupational safety and health standards.
“In order to fulfil the mandates of the ECA, 2010, a social insurance scheme, known as Employee’s Compensation Scheme, is designed for serving employees to ensure they are adequately protected with regards to compensation whenever they suffer injuries from workplace accidents; any injury in the course of work outside the workplace; disease emanating from working conditions,” said Tesh.
Lamenting the implication of poor or lack of occupational safety and health culture, Tesh noted that every year, 6,300 people die as a result of workplace accident or work-related diseases, stressing, “occupational safety and health culture respects the right to safe and healthy working environment at all levels.
“It allows government, employers and workers to actively participate in securing a safe and healthy working environment through a system of defined rights, responsibilities and duties, where the highest priority is giving to prevention instead of compensation,” he explained.
Tesh stated that the ECS is also called non-fault scheme because “when there is an injury, accident or disability, we don’t ask who is at fault. So long as you suffer any of these things that I mentioned, you are automatically qualified to benefit, as long as your employer has keyed into the programme,” he said.
On keying into the system, he said, “you will give one per cent of your worker’s total emolument and the law does not allow you to cut from the worker’s pay, it is an insurance that is for yourself and for your workers.
“We expect every worker; public, private and the informal sector, to key in. It is not because we want to get their one per cent but because we are preaching that people should be safe at work.
“The population of workers in the country, as at 2017, is approximately 59 million including former and informal workers. Our expectation is that in the next few years, we should be able to bring in about half of them to key into the scheme, and in the next six years, we expect about 70 per cent so that by the time we approach a decade, we are expecting 85-90 per cent of workers keying into the programme.”
He however identified lack of awareness and past experience with insurance schemes as a major setback
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