Anambra Factory Workers Safety Bill Passes Second Reading
BY SUNNY A. DAVID
A bill for a law to ensure the safety, health and welfare of factory workers and all persons lawfully present at factories and for other connected purposes have been read for the second time by the Anambra State House of Assembly.
The sponsor of the bill Mr. Golden Iloh while leading the debate said the bill seek to ensure that workers in different factories in Anambra State is provided with safety kits.
According to Mr. Iloh, the member representing Ihiala 2 constituency, different factories in Anambra do not protect their workers who inhale chemicals and are left on their fate; nobody bothers about what happens to them.
“These chemicals inhaled by this factory workers are dangerous to health. Most of them operate mechines with bare hands without protective gloves.
“As lawmakers, we owe our people a duty of speaking for them because many of them cannot approach their boss to demand for this kit for fear of losing their job. If passed into law, it will help to protect the lives of workers.”
Speaking in support of the bill, Mr. Nobel Igwe (Ogbaru 1), Mr. Nigeria Mbachu (Awka South 1), Mr. Obi Nweke (Anambra East), Mr. Patrick Okafor (Onitsha North 2), Mr. Emma Nwafor (Orumba South), Mr. Anayo Okpalaeke (Aguata 1) Majority leader, Mr. Ikenna Ofodeme (Ekwusigo), Mr. Tony Mobuike (Aguata 2), Mr. Chidiebere Ibemeka (Njikoka 1) and Mr. Fred Ezenwe (Onitsha South 1) in their seperate submissions maintained that the bill would save a lot of life if passed into law.
“It should be a culture to be kitted with every safety gadget while working in a factory. All safety precutions and provisions should be provided.
“Safety devices such as hand gloves, boots, helmet, nose masks amongst others are vital for factory workers. This is important because the hazards they face has effect on their life spin if not handled very well.
“If a factory worker is not provided with the necessary kit to do their work, there is every tendency of accident. Some get their fingers cut during production and no compensation.
“Fire extinguisher is important also because of fire outbreak. We need to think about the safety of our people. There should be an insurance to back them up.
“Some are working in a high temperature environment and their cells have been condemned and their life expectancy is in jeopardy.
“Some are been discharged and replaced immediately after any incident. The welfare of factory workers is important and will be addressed by this law.
“This bill bothers on the safety, health and welfare of not just factory workers but also aim to protect both the employer and employee.
“This bill is also aimed at domesticating the employment law because when you move round Anambra and beyond, you will discover that there is a lot of issues in our factories.
“Before a contract is issued to an employee, the employer have to make sure that all safety measures are in place. It will encourage workers in discharging their duties.
“There is need for safety training and the emergency action plan such as first aid but
unfortunately, the jobs of factory workers are not guaranteed,” the Lawmakers maintained.
The Speaker Rt. Hon. Somtochukwu Udeze referred the bill to the joint committee on Health and Committee on Commerce, Trade and Industry.