THE Programme Manager, Occupational and Environmental Health of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Edith Clarke, has called for the passage of a legislative instrument(LI) on occupational health and safety in support of the Labour Act 2003.
She said Section 118 of the law, which mandated the provision of safe and healthy work environment by employers for workers, needed operationalisation through an LI.
The LI, she said, would provide guidance, among others, on the means of protection from the effects of hazardous pollutants.
Delivering a lecture on the “The Effects of Air Pollution on Health” as part of a year long programme by the GHS, she also asked workers to show interest in the issue of occupational health issues and advocate the passage of right policies and regulations for their benefit.
Dr Clarke said air, domestic and industrial pollutants were the most important risks that workers had to take note of.
Examples of these pollutants, she said, were burning, fumes from vehicles, construction works and insecticide sprays.
She advocated the adoption of clean fossil fuels, the regular servicing of vehicles and environmentally friendly waste disposal methods.
She also asked policy makers to review the policy on the importation of over-aged vehicles that emitted pollutants and resulted in Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs).
According to Dr Clarke, occupational health and safety were important for health and development, pointing out that ARIs, irritation of the skin and eyes were some health conditions that impacted negatively on productivity and school attendance of children.
Mrs Esi Nerquaye-Tetteh of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), contributing, said the agency was still working with other stakehoders to develop Vehicular Emission Standards and Regulation policy for the country.
A Deputy Director of Administration at the GHS, Mr Yaw Brobbey-Mpiani, said the lecture was part of a programme of action of the GHS to educate workers and implement, through knowledge sharing, clinical care and preventive health policies of the GHS.
He said it was also to impact public health policy by making information available to others and using feedback to enhance efforts.
DAILY GRAPHIC, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2007