ARTISANS Association of Ghana (AAG) and World University Service of Canada (WUSC) have organised a comprehensive health and safety workshop for the teeming construction workers in the country.
The workshop—which was held on Friday, July 5, 2019 at Suma Court Hotel in Accra— was aimed at educating the construction workers on their legal rights and responsibilities related to occupational health and safety.
The event further educates the workers on the importance of wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) while on the various work sites and how to perform first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in response to emergency situations.
This workshop is the second of two health and safety trainings offered by AAG in the past month as part of its commitment to improving the working conditions and knowledge of artisans across the country.
The training was facilitated by Sauliha Alli, a WUSC volunteer who studies at the University of Toronto in Canada, and Brain Emrys
As part of the event, AAG also developed a short survey to gather data on health and safety issues in the residential construction sector.
Workers shared their workplace accident stories and concerns related to workplace rights.
One contractor mentioned, for example, that his foot was impaled by a nail because he was not wearing safety shoes on site.
A metal fabricator described how one colleague was cut by a grinding machine and consequently had to be hospitalized.
Several electricians reported receiving electrical shocks, and painters, falls.
For her part, the Executive Member of AAG who doubles as the student of World University Service in Canada, Miss Sauliha Alli noted “Workplace accidents are very prevalent in Ghana.
She revealed that a recent study by Monney et al. (2014) revealed that 64% of artisans in Ghana sustain injuries while on site.
“The majority of these accidents are preventable with training and enforcement of safe work practices, topics we cover in AAG’s health and safety training” she added.
Data on the use of PPE (e.g. hats, gloves, and boots) was also collected in the AAG survey.
Miss Sauliha Alli noted that, “one of our findings was that 61% of youth artisans in Tema, Ashaiman and Ghana as a whole had purchased their own PPE despite the fact that employers are legally required to provide it for them according to the Ghana Labour Act.”
According to her, these findings were corroborated by workers reports of legal health and safety issues in the workplace through open discussions at the event.
She noted that the workers raised concerns that aside from employers being reluctant to provide PPE in the first place, even when they do provide it they often do not replace it when it becomes worn out.
“The current labour law we have,” Alli added, “is not detailed enough to address all of the health and safety issues that arise on Ghanaian construction sites.
We need to develop a law that will both workers and employers in this rapidly growing sector, and the first step in doing so is gaining a better understanding of the day-to-day challenges workers faced”
Story: Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU
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