The Nigerian Senate on Thursday, 27th September 2012 passed the Labour Safety, Health Welfare Bill aimed at protecting Nigerian workers. The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Chris Anyanwu, was read for the third time and passed at the Senate on Thursday.
The bill seeks imprisonment for any employer who breaches labour laws. It seeks to repeal and re-enact the Factory Act 2004 to make comprehensive provisions for securing the safety, health and welfare of persons at work. It is to promote safe and healthy work environment for employees and protect them from injuries and illnesses at their workplaces.
It also seeks to protect others against risks to safety and health with regard to activities of persons at work in addition to establishing the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. The amended bill contains 111 clauses and clause 83 deals with offences and penalties. It reads in part; “Any employer who fails to comply with any of the provisions of clauses 29, 30,31,32,33,34,35,36 and 37 of this bill relating to the duty of the employer commits an offence. “The person shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not less than one year or to a fine of not less than N500, 000. “Both fine and imprisonment in case of an individual and a fine of not less than N2m for a corporate body and in addition each director or manager of the body shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not less than one year. “Clause 31 (1) of the bill also states that an employer shall after being notified by a female employee that she is pregnant, adapt the working conditions of the female employee in such manner as to prevent occupational exposure. “This is to ensure that the embryo is afforded the same level of protection as required for members of the public and the employer shall not consider the notification of pregnancy as a reason to exclude the employee from work. “The employer is also required by this law to ensure that any female employee that is pregnant or nursing a baby is not exposed to ionizing radiation at the work place. On the construction and disposal of machinery, the bill in clause 52 stipulates that any person who manufactures, assemblies, sells or lets on hire any machine that does not comply with the requirement of this clause commits an offence. The person shall be liable to a penalty of N50, 000.00 for the first case of non compliance and N100,000.00 for every subsequent case of non compliance or N50 million for the first case of non compliance and N500m for every subsequent case.
Culled from Punch Newpapers. Ehi Iden