Occupational Health and Safety Undervalued

Industrialisation and increased use of machinery in workplaces have led to a rise in work-related injuries and accidents, emphasising the need for investments in occupational safety at all operational levels.

In Namibia, occupational health, safety, and environmental officers play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of workers and the environment.

These officers are responsible for implementing safety standards, environmental regulations and sustainability measures in various industries.

They have a significant and wide-reaching impact. Their efforts contribute to worker protection, regulatory compliance, incident prevention, improved productivity, environmental sustainability, positive organsational culture and enhanced reputation.

By creating a safer and healthier workplace, they benefit both employees and organisations, ultimately benefiting society as a whole.
Despite their importance, they face challenges and may be undervalued by some employers.

To address these issues, organisations need to recognise the significance of these officers and provide them with the necessary support, resources, and authority to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

Employers should prioritise safety, foster a culture of compliance, and involve Ohseos in decision-making processes related to occupational health, safety, and environmental matters.

This collaborative approach maximises their positive impact and ensures a safer and healthier working environment in Namibia.

These individuals sometimes encounter conflicts with different stakeholders, including unions, workers, employers and government entities.

These conflicts often arise due to differing priorities, expectations, or misunderstandings about their roles.

However, fostering collaboration among these stakeholders is crucial for the effective implementation of occupational health, safety, and environmental measures. Through open communication, mutual understanding and shared goals, stakeholders can work together to create a safe and healthy working environment in Namibia.

While the government has introduced legislation and policies to ensure occupational health and safety, there is currently no recognised body for these professionals in the country.

It is essential for professionals in this field to come together and establish a unified body.

Creating a recognised body for them is crucial for providing professional recognition, setting standards and best practices, enabling professional development, promoting the profession and fostering networking and collaboration among stakeholders.

This united body would elevate the status of these officers, improve occupational health, safety, and environmental practices and ensure the well-being of workers and the protection of the environment.

It is time to unite, strengthen the profession and prioritise the well-being of Namibia’s workers and the environment.

Stephanus Nguluwe

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