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Home EFC News The EFC’s Message for World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2018
The EFC’s Message for World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 04 May 2018 10:29
World Day for Safety and Health at Work is annually celebrated on 28th April. This is a day to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases internationally. Awareness-raising campaigns are conducted globally with the intention to encourage and create a safe work culture to assist in the decrease of work-related deaths and injuries.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 2.78 million workers die worldwide every year as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases. Additionally, approximately 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses occur each year, many of these result in extended absences from work.
The ILO’s workshop for World Day for Occupational Health and Safety 2018 focused on “Improving the Safety and Health of Young Workers”. According to European Agency for Safety and Health, young workers between the ages of 18 to 24 are at a higher risk to encounter serious accidents at work than age groups. There is a risk of these young workers being exposed to poor working conditions which in turn lead to the development of occupational illnesses while still young or later in life.
“Prevention is always better than cure and when it comes to occupational safety and health (OSH) standards, we cannot compromise. We need to establish the highest standards of OSH.” Kanishka Weerasinghe, the Director General/CEO of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) made these remarks during his address at the ILO workshop for World Occupational Safety and Health Day held on the 27th April. He further stated that the EFC membership practices the highest standards of OSH and that the EFC and its membership will always support the national endeavor to reach the highest standards of OSH of the country. 

The EFC is committed to spreading awareness on the importance of cultivating a safe working environment for its members. Trainings are conducted annually by the EFC on areas relating to OSH, in addition to the guidance provided by the internal resource persons on the prevailing legal framework. External resource personnel from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and other entities are brought in to share their valuable industrial expertise.

Furthermore, participants of the EFC Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health are provided with the opportunity of going on factory visits where they receive firsthand exposure to accepted OSH practices. 
At the request of member companies, the EFC organizes company based customized awareness programmes for the benefit of the floor level workforce. 

In order to address the concern of whether member companies are meeting the OSH standards at the workplace, the EFC conducts OSH audits in which they review the OSH practices in Human Resource Manuals and visit the company to observe whether such practices are in place.

Sri Lanka is facing many challenges to ensure safety and health of the work force in the present context as the prevailing provisions in the Factories Ordinance No. 45 of 1942 are not sufficient to meet the requirement to prevent and protect the work force from work related injuries and diseases. As a result a National Consultation was held on OSH to which the EFC was a party. The objective of this consultation was to review the present situation and to develop and draft a new OSH Act, which provides greater coverage to protect and ensure the safety and health and welfare of persons at work.

The draft Act is cited as the Occupation Safety Health and Welfare Act. One of the key requirements of this proposed Act is to formulate and implement a National Policy of OSH. The salient features of the proposed Act are provisions in relation to general duties of employer and the occupier, the planners including builders, designers, manufacturers, self-employed and persons in control of work places and the workers. The proposed Act extends its coverage to visitors and persons in the vicinity of a work place. 

Every work place is required to formulate and implement a work place policy on OSH. The proposed Act makes it mandatory to appoint a qualified Safety and Health Officer in every work place where there are 100 or more employees. Further, it is required to appoint a Safety and Health Committee and a Safety and Health Representative. The proposed Act requires the employer to maintain a General Register and inform accidents and situations prescribed to the Factory Inspector, Engineer or the OSH Officer appointed by the Minister. 

One of the important features in this proposed Act is that any worker, employer, occupier who violates the provisions of this Act, will be prosecuted before a Magistrate’s Court. The provisions also make it mandatory for the workers to wear and use personal protective equipment properly and to adhere to rules and regulations stipulated by the employer on OSH.

Recognizing the importance of OSH, the EFC has partnered with USAID VEGA BIZ+ to ensure that newly incorporated small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adhere to the OSH standards. 

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2018 14:21