Olam Ghana marked National Safety Day with a solemn virtual ceremony, reasserting the company’s commitment to occupational safety and the good health of its employees across its operations.
This year’s National Safety Day celebration in Ghana ran under the theme, ‘Positive Safety Approaches Save Lives’ and was observed alongside the World International Safety Day as declared by the International Labour Organisations (ILO).
Olam’s commemorative ceremony was virtually attended by employees alongside the management team as well as some representative from state institutions. The ceremony underscored the need for all stakeholders to cultivate enabling environments which help to secure and guarantee a safe and healthy environment for workers.
Over 1,200 employees of Olam plugged into the forum from various offices, factories and warehouses across the country to listen to officials and dignitaries who shared their views and thoughts on the importance of effective workplace safety and health regimes.
The special guest, Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, in his keynote, addressed the global statistics on Occupational Safety and Health as provided by ILO. Minister Awuah highlighted that as many as 2.3 million workers die annually from occupational accidents or work-related diseases. In Ghana, the number of workers who suffered from workplace accidents stood at 586,213 according to the Ghana Statistical Service’s Labour Force Survey of 2015.
“It is against this background that we welcome current government efforts led by H. E the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to digitise public systems for improved service delivery and productivity,” Mr. Baffour Awauh said, disclosing that the Department of Factories Inspectorates (DFI) conducted 3,566 workplace inspections in 2019 – a significant improvement on the 2,238 conducted the previous year.
The Employment Minister said he was happy to note that random inspections of offices, shops and factories conducted from June to August 2020 by his Ministry, in conjunction with DFI and the Labour Department as part of the Government’s concerted efforts to reduce infections and ensure the safety of citizens, revealed a general adherence by most workplaces to COVID 19 protocols and guidelines as prescribed by World Health Organisation (WHO) and Ghana Health Service (GHS).
“Among the lessons learnt is the need for Government and industry to work together in a common effort to enforce the protocols and guidelines for fighting the pandemic. The neglect of any aspect of our shared responsibilities would have a negative and possibly fatal impact on lives. I, therefore, urge you to take the COVID-19 protocols very seriously,” Mr. Baffour Awuah said.
In a special message dispatched for the occasion, Mr. Sunny Verghese, Co-Founder & Group CEO of Olam observed that Olam International has consistently improved on its safety performance indicators over the past years.
Said Mr. Verghese: “Over the course of the year, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives, from the risk of transmission of the virus at the workplace to the new occupational safety and health risks that have emerged as a result of precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. We however, pledge to ensure that we strengthen the ways of working at our workplaces to preempt and control certain common risks that cause these serious incidents.
Mr. Verghese’s pledge was underscored by Mr. Amit Agrawal, Country Head of Olam Ghana when he affirmed Olam’s commitment to constantly maintain a healthy and safe workplace in all its businesses. Olam’s safety program, he emphasized, is built on an inclusive philosophy which focuses on staff, contractors, as well as visitors, taking serious account of risk management procedures and timely communication in reporting issues that may cause harm.
Mr. Agrawal said Olam Ghana is embarking on elaborate steps to accomplish the company’s vision of embedding a “zero-harm culture” in all of its operations, a key component of which, he said, is the recent introduction of Olam’s ‘Life-Saving Rules’ aimed at improving safety at the workplace by defining and prescribing the desired behaviour for workers.
He urged all employee to take safety as a collective responsibility and not just the preserve of supervisors, managers or safety leaders. “It takes all of us to be individually committed to creating “An Even Safer Olam” for ourselves, our colleagues, our contractors, and our visitors. We owe this to each other,” he said.