By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), a social security institution in Africa, has called on Nigerian employers to key into the existing Employees’ Compensation Scheme (ECS), to enable them and their employees to enjoy the numerous medical, death and other related compensations which the scheme offers.
NSITF made the call at a 2022 one-day Stakeholders Engagement Workshop on Safety and Health Initiatives held at IDK Learning Centre, Awka, Anambra State last Wednesday, March 2.
The workshop which attracted a good number of employers and employees from various industries, as well as staff of the NSIT, had “Enhancing Productivity through Prevention of Workplace Accidents and Promotion of Occupational Safety and Health in Construction Industry”, as its theme.
In his address of welcome, the Enugu Regional Manager of Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund, Mr Tony Eke, averred that the institution was committed to working for the safety of workers in Nigeria in line with its mission of providing social security protection and safety nets for all Nigerians.
Mr Eke explained that the ECS which was established by the Employees’ Compensation Act (2010), provided compensation to employees in the event of death, injury, disability and death that resulted in the course of their employment. He added that in the event of death, the wife and children of the deceased, whose employer must have included in the form, would benefit from their compensation until the children were 21 years of age.
Pointing out that NSIT was committed to reducing work related accidents to zero, the regional manager urged employers to live up to their most important responsibility which he said was to provide safety working environment and atmosphere for their employees.
Presenting his seminar paper on the topic: “Benefits of Employees’ Compensation Scheme (ECS): Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Perspective”, one of the resource persons, Mr Kingsley Umah, noted that it was the important responsibility of the employer to provide safety atmosphere where the employees would work well for their wellbeing and optimum productivity.
He advised employers to key into the Employees’ Compensation Scheme, which, according to him, took effect on July 1, 2011. Mr Umah added that the ECS also provided loss of productivity compensation for employers in the event of their employers who were out of work due to injuries, diseases or the like.
According to him, once employers registered their companies with the names of their workers, and made renewable payment of 1% of the workers’ emolument, the company and the salaries in the registration information had right to the benefits of the scheme.
He explained that the benefits took effect immediately after registration, and the employer had a period of 21 days to report accident cases that involved any of its employees to the NSITF Office. According to him, the employee had 16 days from the date of the accident to report to his employer while the employer had seven days from the day the worker notified the company to report same to the NSITF.
On Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), Mr Umah observed that unavailability of good OSH Programme would bring about disability. He advocated for strict importance to be attached to Occupational Safety and Health, saying that when the environment was safe, the employee would be free and would be more productive.
Presenting his seminar on the topic: Behaviour Based Safety (BBS), another resource person, Dr Mba, Identified interacting with workers, being closer to them, getting the workers involved in responsibilities, attending trainings with the workers and motivating them, as some of the commitments to safety roles expected of the Management.
He exhorted all against complacency of any kind, but with the understanding that accidents could happen at any time, and be commitment to safety.
Dr Mba advised the Management against poor attention to existing or emerging problems, poor record keeping, ridiculing of the workers and poor attention to workers’ welfare, which, he said, among others, encouraged bad workplace behaviour.
This was even as he advised the employees to, as means of being committed to safety roles, get involved, contribute to taking corrective actions, report all accidents and near miss cases immediately and take responsibility in their workplaces.