Monday, 4 May 2015

Antonia Beri's Safety Crusade

A woman is helping to change the orientation across the country on safety at work, writes Samuel Ajayi
Humanity, apparently aware of how much has been lost to preventable deaths as a result of safety risks, marked the World Safety and Health at Work Day on April 28, 2015. It was a day set aside by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. According to the international body, the World Safety and Health at Work Day is an awareness-raising campaign "intended to focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide".
Occupational safety and health (OSH) is a cross-disciplinary area concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. The goals of occupational safety and health programs include to foster a safe and healthy work environment. OSH may also protect co-workers, family members, employers, customers, and many others who might be affected by the workplace environment.
Occupational safety and health can be important for moral, legal, and financial reasons. All organisations have a duty of care to ensure that employees and any other person who may be affected by the companies undertaking remain safe at all times. Moral obligations would involve the protection of employee's lives and health. Legal reasons for OSH practices relate to the preventative, punitive and compensatory effects of laws that protect worker's safety and health.
Preventable Disasters
In Nigeria, which joined the rest of the world in marking this day, it is even deeper. Many still take the issue of safety so lightly that one begins to wonder if the know the implication of not putting in place comprehensive safety measures, both in their offices and homes. Many fire incidents and preventable mishaps have claimed lives in the country and billions have been lost to these incidents.
In January this year, fire razed popular Balogun Market in the Lagos Island, Oko Baba Sawmill in Ebute Meta and four houses in Igando area of the state. Tragically, a pensioner, identified simply as Baba Bende lost his life in the Ebute Meta incident, while property estimated at billions of naira was destroyed in the incidents. Just less than a couple of weeks ago, fire gutted the Mamman Kontagora House on Lagos Island. Early last year, a Mobil filling station along the Guinness intersection of the popular Oba Akran Avenue in Ikeja was razed down by fire. Parts of the collateral damage were cars parked inside the filling station. These are some of fire disasters that the nation had suffered in the last few years which have claimed both lives and properties.
Many of these, according to Antonia Beri, the lead consultant of Safety Consultants and Solutions Providers, are preventable. Her company, which is one of the very few licensed safety consultancy, outfits, is based in Lagos. But to this American trained chemical engineer, that is not even the issue.
She laments that many Nigerians, even those who are very well exposed and have traveled far and wide, do not know the difference in giving the installation of safety measures in the offices and homes to an ordinary electrical engineer and licensed safety experts. She averred that safety services are quite different from other services that are being provided in maintenance of properties and edifices.
“We have to know that safety services are quite different from other services like mechanical and electrical engineering services. There are certain criteria that must be met and certain benchmarks that are minimums.  A safety company should be licensed and accredited because the mandate for safety systems is quite different.”
Beyond Electrical Contractors
She stated that the key point that Safety Consultants and Solutions Providers Limited could offer in this occasion of the World Safety Day, when people are being conscious of being safe in their environments, is to let the public know that ordinary electrical and mechanical engineering consultants are not licensed to provide safety services.
“So to be sure that your compliance and risks are truly addressed, always go to professionals that offer these serviced. They should not be lumped together with wiring your house or providing close circuit television cameras.
She said her company has much to offer in terms of provision of safety services because they have the professional wherewithal to offer such....full article - THISDAY LIVE
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