Ministry of Steel Development committed towards safety operations in the sector

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By Palma Ileye

Ministry of Steel Development with a view to achieving the protection of workers in the iron and steel industry from workplace hazards and to prevent and reduce work-related injuries, diseases and ill health, has organised through the Metallurgical Inspectorate & Raw Materials Development, MI&RMD, Department, a Safety Workshop for Steel Producers, Fabricators, Metal Industry Operation, Corrugators and Artisans in the Steel and Other Metal Sector.

Declaring the Workshop open in Abuja as contained in the Ministry’s press release the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Steel Development/Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Mary Ogbe, noted that the Workshop which is first in the series of engagements with Industry Operators following the creation of the Ministry of Steel Development was aimed at promoting safety awareness and compliance with safety guidelines in the metal sector of the country, adding that the theme “Industrial Health and Safety Concerns in the Steel and Other Metals Sector in Nigeria” is apt as it is in tandem with the Ministry’s mandate to ensure optimum safety and zero harm in the metals sector.

Emphasing the importance of the steel and metal industry for industrialization and development of any nation, Ogbe who was represented by the Director Human Resources Management of the Ministry, Mohammed Suleiman Kabir said without being safe and in good health while operating in the metals and Steel sector, the enormous prospects in the sector would not be achieved, stating that Safety is an essential aspect of our daily lives, whether at work, at school, or in our homes. She enjoined all to imbibe the critical principle of “Safety First, Safety Always”.

According to her, the principle of “Safety First, Safety Always” is to prevent accidents from happening by promoting safe work practices and procedures. Emphasing the importance of industrial safety, she noted that accidents and injuries do not only harm people but also disrupt business operations, leading to financial losses and causing many families to suffer.

She disclosed that the aim and commitment of the Ministry is to ensure and achieve zero accidents, zero near misses, zero first aid incidents, zero hazards, zero unsafe acts, zero unsafe conditions, and ultimately zero harm. Adding that the goal of achieving zero harm is not just a lofty ambition, but a necessary and achievable objective for every organization.

She urged operators to prioritize safety measures, that will ensure that everyone returns home safely every day.

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Environment, Ibrahim Yusufu Idris who was represented by the Deputy Director, Environmental Assessment Department, Shittu Hussain, in his goodwill message expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Steel Development for organising the Safety Workshop, noting that it was the Ministry of Environment’s mandate to protect the Nigerian environment by ensuring that operations are carried out with regard to keeping the environment protected.

He stated that operators should always be concerned about safe practice in the steel sector and encouraged all to keep to the safety guidelines to achieve safe working environment for the country.

In his remarks, the DG/CEO, National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, NSRMEA, Kaduna, Kolawole Ogunbiyi, said the workshop couldn’t have come at a better time than now as the Federal Government plan to revamp the steel sector.

According to him, organising industrial health and safety workshop was timely and a welcome development.

Also, President, Manufacturer Association of Nigeria, MAN, Otunba Francis Meshioye represented by Lekan Edunjobi, described the theme of the workshop apt as it concerns the health and safety, adding that it was imperative to prioritise the wellbeing of the workforce and prevent hazards.

Earlier, the Director, Metallurgical Inspectorate and Raw Materials Development, MI&RMD, Department, Engr. Frederick Ewa,said to achieve tne Presidential Mandate in the Steel Sector, safe working procedures must be guaranteed.

He implored employers to make the health and safety of their employees top priority in the steel and metals industry, adding that an unsafe act could result in accidents that could cause both human, economic and social losses.

Engr. Ewa noted that the industry requires safe working measures as workers face many risks on the job, adding that the goal of the Workshop was to ensure that every type of operation and process in the metal industry is made accident-free.