In Nigeria, the need for grassroots mass enlightenment campaigns and training of SMEs workforce on the need for occupational health and safety cannot be overemphasized. Majority of Nigerian employees lack the basic knowledge and skills required to do their job safely. They are unaware of the hazards within their work environment, are unconscious of their unsafe working habits and indifferent to accidents and deaths that occur to their colleagues (some simply see it as ill-fate). Such a wrong notion makes the problem of unsafe working conditions even worse.
However, a few semi-enlightened employees are aware of these dangers, but are unable to make any meaningful positive impact towards a change in their working conditions because of the following factors:
This is very worrisome as Nigerians are dying daily in their workplace. The need to fend for one’s family and oneself is very paramount. In a country like Nigeria where jobs are scarce and, with a high rate of unemployment, those who are lucky to find a job are very unwilling to do anything that would make their employers see them as recalcitrant, hence lose their source of livelihood.
So, they work unsafely and die in silence!
At this point, it is quite important to mention here that Nigeria SME employers are not deliberately hostile to the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees but are plagued by their poor level of education and enlightenment. Kivos HSE Foundation has discovered that majority of Nigeria SMEs, are reluctant to the improvement of their employee’s health and safety for the following reasons:
These are some of the factors militating against the improvement of safe working conditions and employee HSE training in Nigeria. In the society, the question of “who should be responsible for employee’s safety” sparks several outcries from different quarters. Some people are of the opinion that it is the duty of the employee. Others antagonistically disagree and strongly upholds that it is the duty of the employers. However, we all know that both parties have a role to play, even the government, workers union and associations, NGOs and NPOs such Kivos HSE Foundation and others.
The role of NGOs and NPOs in Nigeria workplace safety
Kivos HSE Foundation strongly upholds the view that both the employer and employee have a role to play in ensuring a safe working environment. The foundation has come to terms with two main facts:
These two factors are working together to retard the development of safe working conditions in Nigeria. The SME employers are shying away from their responsibilities and blaming it on poor production output, poor economy, poor power supply, poor government interventions, poor social amenities that corroborates better production outputs, high cost of raw materials, high taxes etc. Hence, they don’t want to invest in employee safety.
On the other hand, the massive unemployment rate in Nigeria has made SME employees afraid to request better working conditions and safety training. No one wants to start a revolution in this regard, because everyone holds a dare, his/her job and are unwilling to lose it.
This is where an NGO or NPO comes in. Kivos HSE Foundation strongly believes that it is the duty of NGOs and NPOs to bridge the gap in this regard. It is their duty to:
Kivos HSE Foundation is poised to play its role in this regard.
Kivos Health, Safety and Environment (KiHSE) Foundation is a Nonprofit Foundation established to train, certify and empower individuals, members of NGOs and NPOs, private and public employees on public health, environmental protection, occupational Health and Safety. We train private and public employees to meet global standards by ensuring best practice and compliance within and outside the work environment.