Six thousand workers die daily from work-related accidents and diseases, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said.
Addressing reporters at the World Health and Safety Day, factional President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero, said statistics from ILO showed that ‘one worker dies every 15 seconds worldwide, 6,000 die daily and more than two million die annually from work-related accidents and diseases’. “From the ILO statistics, more people die at work than at wars and even natural disasters.
“Beyond job-related deaths each year, there are some 268 million non-fatal workplace accidents as well as 160 million new cases of work-related illnesses.
“The ILO estimates that occupational accidents and diseases result in annual four per cent loss in global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or about $2.8 trillion in direct and indirect cost of injuries and diseases. “There are several cases of body injuries, some reported to the union and several others happening in non-unionised workplaces, with little support and compensation for affected workers. The memories of workers consumed in a midnight inferno at an Ikorodu factory in Lagos are still fresh in our minds. “Not less than 500 workers have died in terror-related violence in Maiduguri, Kano and Abuja.”
Ajaero added that workplace accidents were not applicable to industries alone, but also workers in the informal sector, stressing that ‘the death and injury rate at the workplace is unacceptable, given the impact on the family, society and the country’. “We identify with workers, who have been rendered permanently or partially incapacitated through injuries at work. We remember workers who have lost their lives to workplace accidents and health hazards.
“We call on the incoming administration of Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) for effective discharge of its mandate. “The ECA should be strengthened to cover workers, who lost their lives in terror-related violence. “There must be increased synergy between the NSITF and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, particularly the factories Inspectorate Division and the relevant departments in the Ministry of health, trade unions and employers in promoting health and safety education, as well as safe work practices.