By Fred Yaw Sarpong
The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Hon. Nii Armah Ashietey has announced that in 2012 the Labour Department paid an amount of GHc956,362.00 as Workmen’s Compensation to 121 victims of occupational accidents in the public sector.
He stated that the victims sustained various degrees of injuries rendering them invalid and some lost their lives. The Minister said this at the World Safety Day celebration held in Accra last week. It was under the theme ‘Prevention of Occupational Diseases and Injuries. Whose Responsibility is it?’
According to him an additional amount of GHc915,177.00 was paid to 273 private sector workers who sustained various degrees of industrial injuries.
‘In all, the economy of Ghana lost about GHc1.8 million on occupational injuries and diseases apart from the loss of live, and source of livelihoods,’ said the Minister.
He noted that the department of Factories Inspection and the Labour Department records, investigate and pays workmen’s compensation every year.
‘Ghana continues to lose critical workforce to chronic diseases, injuries and death because of laxities on the part of Employers and Organizations to observe occupational safety and health standards,’ he Hon. Ashietey.
The Hon. Minister said evidence collected show that occupational diseases and injuries remain predominant in the private sector.
He said leadership of some private establishments ignore occupational safety and health standards and guidelines due to cost implications and profit consideration. ‘For example, as I have already indicated the number of victims paid workmen’s compensation in the private sector for 2012, was more than double that of the public sector,’ he emphasized.
In order to prevent occupational diseases and injuries, Hon. Ashietey said Government, Employers and Employees groups must continue to work together and even harder than before to put in place system, guidelines, standards, legislation and regulations of occupational safety and health at the workplace and ensure their strict enforcement.
He promised that the government through the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations will continue to play its regulatory role and offer leadership and direction for the way forward.
‘We shall continue to dialogue with our constituents, including the International Labour Organization (ILO) to come with appropriate solutions and causes of action,’ he added.