The 1st State Organised Safety Summit In West Africa
“The future of the safety movement is not so much dependent upon the invention of safety devices as on the improvement of methods of educating people on the ideal of caution and safety.”
This was what inspired Green Lantern Services, a safety consultant, to the Lagos State Commission in conjunction with the federal government, state government, private companies and corporate bodies to hold the first safety summit state organised by a state government in the whole of West Africa.
The 2-day summit, which held at the Civic Center on Victoria Island on Thursday and Friday, June 7 and 8, 2018, was tagged: Taking ownership and development tactics to improve compliance”. It was anchored by an ace broadcaster and a voice to reckon with in journalism, Mr. Obafemi Craig, a popular TV host with Lagos Television. As captured by the theme, the event focused more on how various organisations across the state and the federation at large ought to comply with various safety rules starting from homes to various places of works.
Although the main focus of the summit was occupational safety and health, speakers were selected from different walks of life to discuss on the importance of the safety of both employers and employees and the need to have an absolute hazard free environment for optimal performances.
SUMMIT DAY 1 ACTIVITIES
The event started on a bright Thursday morning with different federal and state government functionaries well represented, ranging from the His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr.Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by the honorable commissioner for housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal; the Honorable Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige who also sent his representative.
Also present was the Deputy Director, Organisational Safety Health Department, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr, C.O Okoroafor, who also represented the Minister for Labour and Employment. The attorney general of Lagos and Commissioner for Justice, Mr.Mosediq Adeniji Kazeem, ably represented by the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Lagos state Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami, 3rd Vice President, Nigeria Institute of Architect, Arc MobolajiAdeniyi, Senior Programme Officer, International Labour Organisation, ILO, Mr Femi Akintunde, Group MD/CEO, Alpha Mead.
Because of the importance and sensitivity of the summit, there were two welcome addresses; the first was read by the Director General/CEO, Lagos State Safety Commission, Honorable Olaogun Dickson whose speech centered on the necessity of safety in every sphere of life. The second welcome address was taking by the Chief Operating Officer, COO of Green Lantern Services, which co-hosted the summit with the Lagos Safety Commission, Mr. Afolabi Ademosu, who in his address noted that the summit came into place as a result of the value placed on lives in Lagos particularly and the country at large. He said it was the intention of the summit to orientate the participants on not just keeping themselves and environment safe, healthy, but also productive and imbibing safety cultures in various spheres.
GOV. AMBODE TAKES KEYNOTE ADDRESS
As a safety-conscious leader who has put in more than enough facilities and manpower in place to ensure the safety of lives and property in Africa’s most populous city, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos was more than qualified to read a keynote address at the summit. Painfully, he was unavoidably absent as he had to attend to a very pressing impromptu state matter, he was ably represented by the Honorable Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal who spoke on “building a safety culture for a smart, safer and better Lagos”.
His address reiterated the fact that both the government and the governed have a shared responsibility of ensuring safety. He said that the government’s commitment to safety of lives and properties is evident in the state’s huge investment in the Rapid Response Unit of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency LASEMA for optimal performance.
He encouraged all stake holders and individuals to see safety compliance as a necessity for living in a society where hazards and accidents can be at the barest minimum. He ended his address by declaring the summit opened.
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF LAGOS MR.KAZEEM, DELIVERS LECTURE
Being the custodian of law and order in the state, the Attorney General of Lagos and Honorable Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Mosediq Kazeem, was the best fit to deliver this lecture entitled: “occupational safetyand health (OSH) regulations. However, he was also unavoidably absent owing to the nature of his office. He was represented by another ably qualified personality, the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami, who did justice to the subject matter.
She applauded the Lagos State Safety Commission for putting such a magnificent event together, noting that it is strategic for the state as it positions Lagos to compete with other cities of the world in terms of safety standards and best practices. Her lecture emphasizes the fact that Lagos state government is committed to ensuring justice and prosecuting those who violate organisational health and safety regulations without fear or favour accordingly.
GOV. AMBODE LAUNCHES SAFER WORKPLACES CAMPAIGN/SAFETY RADIO
To Green Lantern Services and Lagos State Safety Commission, safety is a lifestyle that should be a part of every individual’s daily routine for life to continue. This fact made the commission think outside and came up with another intelligent innovation; a pointer to the fact Lagos rules the rest of Africa in all spheres.
Led by Governor Ambode’s representative, Prince Gbolahan Lawal was followed by other distinguished guests present and every other participant to join a “1 million” signature campaign drive tagged: I Support #SaferWorkPlaces for increased productivity, corporate longevity, optimal efficiency, minimal compensation claims and improved livelihood at work places.
Added to that was also the official launching of the safety radio, an online safety information hub where details of safety activities across the state is being made available.
DAY-1SUMMIT LECTURE 2
The summit day-1 high point was the various mind-blowing and conscience-appealing lectures delivered by different resource persons. Worthy of mention was that of the Deputy Director, OSH department, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr C.O Okoroafor who spoke on “Occupational Safety and Health in Nigeria: from compliance to culture – taking ownership and developing tactics to improve compliance.
Herlecture was impactful as she focused on how both the employers and employees would see safety as their responsibilities and despite their difference, play their roles in ensuring that the workplace is safe for everyone.
She noted that it is the responsibility of the employers to get machinery and train the employed, but it is the responsibility of the employed to operate all machines with safety rules in mind without compromising standards.
After Dr.Okoroafor was another sensational speaker, who drew the attention of all the attendees to the relationship between safety and architecture; Arc Mobolaji Adeniyi, the vice president of Nigerian Institute of Architects, in her lecture discouraged the using of non-professionals and cheap labour, noting that they are some of the reasons collapsed buildings are rampant in the country today.
She spoke on “safe designs: designing with safety in mind’ making her listeners understand the importance of abiding by all safety standards on and off building sites.
The Director, Safety, Training and Education, Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr. Adebiyi Yekini, spoke on “chemical and biological hazards, falls fatalities, injuries – walking surfaces, fall protection.
His lecture centered on control of the procurement, storage, sales and use of chemicals in other to prevent the abuse of such chemicals and reduce access to it. He laid emphases on spillage, surfaces and measures needed to put in place to protect individuals and in case of hazards, first aid measures.
Other lectures included “ILO and occupational health and safety framework for Nigeria: effective collection and use of OSH data; delivered by the senior programmeofficer,International Labour Organisation, West Africa, Mrs.Chinyere Emeka-Anuna.
‘Achieving sustainable safety culture and operational excellence using harm to zero strategy’ was delivered by Mr.Jamiu Badmos, HSSEQ & Business Sustainability Executive of Safety, Advocacy and Empowerment Foundation. The last lecture of the day was delivered Olajumoke Joseph of the Occupational Safety and Health Inspector, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, who spoke on ‘control of respiratory tract diseases at work place.
SAFETY IN ART
There was a brief entertainment section titled: safety in art anchored by Arch Angel, a poet, lyricist, and entertainer. He spiced up the event with arts and poetries.
Day 1 of the summit ended with a panel session; a discussion that had six crème-de-la-crème of the Occupational Safety and Health sector seated, responding to various questions and challenges including the director, safety, compliance and enforcement, Lagos State Safety Commission, Mrs. AderonkeOdeneye, Dr. C.O. Okoroafor, Council President, National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria, Mr. Cletus Akhigbe, Deputy Director, Legal, Regulatory & Taxation Dept, Nigeria Employer’s Consultative Association, Thompson Akpabio, Founder HSEQ Professional Nigeria, MrAkeem Mustapha, Arc MobolajiAdeniyi, GMD/CEO Alpha Mead Development, Femi Akintunde.
The panel session was moderated by Dr. Bolawole Ogunbodede of the department of architecture, University of Lagos, who led the discussants to talk on ‘Occupational Safety and Health: our collective responsibility. Compliance – are we part of the solution or part of the problem?
The panel reached a number of conclusions some of which are; Ensuring safe workplaces by employers through the provision of basic safety requirements, employing more competent hands in safety enforcement parastatals, provision of funds by the government to various safety enforcement agencies, decentralising safety enforcement agencies and empowerment of safety bodies with ICT compliant intelligent tools.
Faces of the summit attendees were filled with brightness and hope on the second day of the event simply because the first day was not only impactful, it was also full of information that were capable of transforming the mindset of an average Nigerian towards safety starting from homes.
Safety begins with me was the watchword of everyone as the deputy governor of Lagos State, Her Excellency, Dr. Idiat Adebule, well represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Civil Engagement, MrAdesinaOdeyemi delivered the first keynote address of the day tagged ‘the importance of safe and healthy workplaces for social wellbeing and economic prosperity.
Mr. Adeyemi, who spoke with City People Magazine after his keynote address said; “Lagos State has been in the forefront of educating the publicand making them realises why they have to be safety conscious by ensuring that the environment they work is safe, workers will be happy and be more productive especially when you know that if anything happens to you, people out there will be more than willing to come and assist you.
“So, Lagos state has been in the forefront of propagating safety in our workplaces and even our schools, teach our children to learn how to keep safe because if they fall sick or injure themselves, they won’t be able to come to school and they will lose some valuable lessons and at the end of the day, that child will not be able to gain promotion to the next class.
“We should be encouraged to ensure that our school environment, government establishment buildings and workplaces are safe for people that work there and live around such places and the people as well should be safety conscious. That’s what we intend to achieve with this summit.”
The summit was not just about lectures, participants were afforded the opportunity to meet several safety oriented companies that displayed various equipment at the exhibition stand for sale.
Some of the companies at the exhibition stand were: Paulvic Safety Interbiz, Altitude Group, Safety Plus, Green Park Estate, Seamate, Safety & Protection, Crownsafe Masters Nig. Ltd.
In display were bells, fire alarm panels, ringers, fire hydrants, mandatory signs, caution signs, hard hats, fire extinguishers, etc.
SAFETY AMBASSADOR AWARD WINNERS
The facilitators of the event from Green Lantern Services disclosed before the presentation that the safety ambassadors were carefully selected via various parameters some of which included: direct/indirect catering to people, sector or culture, emulative leadership traits and contribution to the progress of humanity.
The winners in no particular order are: the Ojora of Lagos, HRM, Oba Fatai AremuAromire II, Chairperson, CIG Motors (GAC) Chief Diana Chen, Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, President and Executive Chairman, Eurostar Global Limousine Group, Chief Oscar Yao Doe, MD/CEO Nike Center for Arts and Culture, Chief Mrs. OyenikeOkundaye, Former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Musiliu Kunbi Smith, MD/CEO, Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd, Peter N. Mbah and MD/CEO, Adron Homes, Dr. Oba Adetola EmmanuelKing.