Safety, health experts, advocate equal opportunities for disabled persons

April 26th, 2018
Chuks Oyema-Aziken
Gretchen Rubin, in her book, “The Happiness Project’, identified seven areas to improve happiness in the workplace.
She stated that poor health is not only damaging to employees, but detrimental to businesses. She stated need to educate employees on health topics.3
Interestingly, the three-days retreat organized by the Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) for the Technical Committee for the Development of the Public Service Emergency Management Policy brought to focus need for policies to create an enabling environment for the public service to thrive.
They were presentations by safety, health and environmental practitioners.
The retreat was organised in response to outbreak of different emergency situations in the public service and to ensure that civil servants are alive to perform their duties.
Senior Technical Assistant on Rehabilitation and Disabilities Matters to the President, Prince David Yilbel in his paper titled a�?Safety management of people living with disabilities in the workplacea�? called for the workstation to be suited to enable the worker with a disability to perform the job effectively.
According to him, adaptations may be required to tools and equipment to facilitate optimal job performance.
He stated that flexibility of work schedules can be a significant factor in enabling some individuals with disabilities to perform a job satisfactorily.
Speaking further, he said: a�?a��Workers with disabilities should be afforded equal opportunities with other workers at the workplace to acquire the skills and experience necessary to advance in their careers.
“In considering a candidate with a disability for a specific job, employers should be open to making adjustments, if required, in the workplace, workstation and work conditions, to maximize the ability of this candidate to perform the job.
To facilitate the recruitment of persons with disabilities and job retention by workers who acquire a disability, A�Yilbel said that employers should take steps to improve the accessibility of the work premises to people with different types of disability.
This accessibility should include signage in use, manuals, workplace instructions and electronic information. He added that this should be reviewed, where necessary, for accessibility to people with visual impairment and for people with intellectual disability in particular.
He also stressed need for emergency planning to take into cognizance persons with disabilities, and that they safely and effectively evacuated from the workplace to an area of safety.
Emergency arising from fire outbreaks, especially in public offices also received attention.
Engr. Quintus Azogu, Assistant Controller General, Policy, Regulatory and Inspectorate Department, Federal Fire Service, in his presentation titled ‘FireA�Safety Management in Buildings and Responsibilities’ disclosed that public buildings have become larger and more complex.
He stressed that with this and some other organizational factors, the complexity of fighting fires in public buildings has increased.
Engr. James Akujobi, Deputy Director, Planning, Research & Forecasting, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) told journalists that 968 lives were lost to various disasters and communal crises across the country in 2017.
He said that NEMA was set to integrate some disaster management principles into the curriculum of primary and secondary schools in the country. He further identified low awareness in disaster management for the increase in the cases of disasters in the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office, OHCSF, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack, said it was important to secure the lives of civil servants as well as properties of the Federal government, stating the need for prevention of possible emergency in the public service.
She said the retreat is in line with Goal 4 of the Strategic Implementation Plan of Federal Civil Service, which talks about welfare of the civil servant.
The Permanent Secretary assured that the committee is coming up with a framework for the implementation of the policies.

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