The federal government has begun a crack down on companies breaching its safety standards and regulations.
This followed the minister of state for labour and employment, Barr. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, observed that some companies were operating far below Nigeria’s safety rules in workplaces.
The minister who is on a nationwide inspection of companies yesterday visited Metal Manufacturing Nig. Ltd., Lagos and found that the company was operating in violation of safety rules and regulations.
She therefore ordered that the company be sealed till further notice.
In a statement issued by her media aide, Mr Emameh Gabriel, the minister said the company was exposing its workers to a number of hazards, including chemical substances, noise, and dust.
This is because it has refused to provide its workers with the necessary safety equipment, such as masks, gloves, and boots.
The minister, who was accompanied by the director of occupational safety and health (OSH) Lauretta Adogu, declared the government’s resolve to go tough on erring companies operating in unsafe environments that put the lives of workers at risk.
Onyejeocha, who issued a warning to other companies operating in the country, specifically read the Riot Act to the management of Metal Manufacturing Nig. Ltd.
The minister described what she witnessed at the factory as horrible. She said despite several petitions against the company, it remained adamant.
“We cannot continue this way. They may think they know people who will tell them to continue operating like this, but I am telling them that with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it’s a different ball game. If you take these workers for medical examination, you will be surprised with the outcome,” she said.
“We will not relent until this is addressed. These people working here are our children. These are things they can’t try elsewhere. Is it because of the way the country is? I came here myself to send a message to others that it’s not going to be business as usual. We must take the safety of our workers seriously,” she added.
The minister warned that the government will not hesitate to take action against any company found to be operating in violation of its safety standards.
She said, “We have received a lot of petitions against this factory. How they expose workers to danger and refuse to operate in line with safety standards.”
She continued, “The danger the workers here, are facing cannot be overemphasised.”
“They started running around to cover their faces with masks when they saw us coming. No safety boot, overall suit, no hand gloves, no helmets etc. They were handling chemical substances with bare hands like groundnut,” she said.
The minister said the government is taking action to protect the lives of Nigerian workers. She said that the government is working with the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) to inspect factories and ensure that they are complying with safety standards.