The work-life plays a vital role in every employee because majority of their time is spent at work if not at home. This is why the knowledge of Occupational Health and Safety is inevitable for all. As a result of this, in this article, we take a look at various issues that relate to Occupational Health and Safety. Some of these include what it really means, different courses or programmes that relate to this field in case you are considering it, what is obtainable in terms of the career, and an idea of the salaries of such skilled professionals in Ghana.
Everyone in the work environment should have a set of fundamental and practical skills that they must exhibit in order to ensure that the whole environment is not only safe but also in good health. The essence of Occupational Health and Safety programmes is to ensure that there is a safe and healthy work environment for every concerned person in an organisation. This also includes those who are affected by the activities of a workplace like the customers, family members, and so on.
It should be noted that the issue of the health and safety of employees does not just affect organisations that deal with heavy equipment or those that are more prone to hazards alone; it affects all. And then, it is worth noting that Occupational Health and Safety covers all the areas that concern an employee such as their social, mental, and physical well-being. But before we begin to dig deeper, it is imperative that we, first of all, understand what Occupational Health and Safety is all about. At least, once this is settled, it makes it easier to make an informed decision as to whether the field is worth venturing into or not.
Occupational Health and Safety defined
Occupational Health and Safety is defined as a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at work. In other words, Occupational Health and Safety is not just about the work environment but also about the health and safety of people in the workplace as well as preventive measures that may be taken to avert hazards. People should be comfortable and work with an assurance of mind that there are no forms of threats to their health and safety as a result of an impending hazard(s). By health, in this context, we talk about a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the main focus of Occupational Health and Safety as a discipline with a broad scope include the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental, and social well-being of workers in all occupations. Apart from these, there should also be prevention of adverse effects on health caused by the workers' working conditions as well as the protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to health, among others.
From all that has been said so far, it is glaring now that Occupational Health and Safety training is very important to any organisation. And interestingly, Occupational Health and Safety is not a monotonous but a multifaceted discipline. This means that it encompasses various courses or programs. Some of these courses are, therefore, discussed in the following paragraphs.
Occupational Health and Safety courses
Anyone who desires to become an Occupational Health and Safety expert or specialist is expected to go through training in that field. To make things easier, there are so many schools and higher institutions of learning that offer courses in this field. However, as said earlier, Occupational Health and Safety is a multifaceted discipline, so that means that you will have to, first of all, determine which aspect of the program you want to specialise in. Once this is settled, then, you can determine which training school is best for you.
More so, bear at the back of your mind that there are various courses that you can enroll for based on your education level. This means that you have different options which you can consider. More so, to help you out in determining which course would be best for you, below is a compilation of some training academies where you can get certified as an Occupational Health and Safety personnel. The courses that they offer relating to Occupational Health and Safety are also discussed as well.
1. NEBOSH Award in Health and Safety at Work
The aim of this course is to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to improve the safety of an organisation. With this, you will be trained on how to recognise and deal with hazards at work. The course is outlined into ten (10) elements and they include Health and Safety Foundations, Principles of fire and explosion, Health and safety risk assessment and control, and Work equipment hazards and controls. Apart from those, there is also Transport safety; Electricity hazards and controls; Manual handling and repetitive movement hazards and controls and Hazards and controls associated with hazardous substances etc. The course runs for three days and it is open to anyone from any field of endeavour.
2. Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS)
An opportunity to study this course is made available by SGS Ghana Limited. Basically, they focus on Occupational Health and Safety Management System areas involving awareness, implementation and audit, and certification.
3. Certificate course in Occupational Health and Safety
This course is offered by Ghana Baptist University College and the focus of it is to train prospective students on Health and Safety Foundations, Health and Safety Management Systems; Policy, and Health Safety Management Systems: Organizing. Other contents of the course include Health and Safety Management Systems: Planning, and Health and Safety Management Systems: Measuring, Audit, and Review
4. Post-Graduate Diploma in Occupational Safety, Health and Environmental Management
If you are interested in this programme, you can register for it at GIMPA. The course covers areas like Principles of Management; Institutional Framework for Global/National Health, Safety and Environmental Management; and Fundamentals of Occupational Health and Safety Management. There are other areas as well like Applied Occupational Health and Safety Management; Principles of Occupational Health Management (Risks to Health at work); Principles of Environmental Management; and Integrating Health and Safety Culture into an Organization.
5. Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety Risk Assessment
The essence of this course is to help students to be able to analyse general and work environments. By this, they would be able to identify potential, eminent and real health hazards (both natural and man-made) in order to proffer solutions. Anyone interested in this course can avail themselves of the opportunity at the University of Cape Coast.
Based on the information above, it would not be a bad idea to explore some of the career opportunities that are open to anyone trained as an Occupational Health and Safety personnel.
Occupational Health and Safety careers
Now that you have an understanding of what Occupational Health and Safety is and the importance and various courses that are available based on this field in Ghana, a question that you may want to find an answer to is "What are the available Occupational Health and Safety jobs in Ghana?" For your information, apart from the fact that every company needs the services of an Occupational Health and Safety personnel, the following are some of the companies where you can apply to for a job.
- Chirano Gold Mines Limited (Bibiani)
- MineDev Recruitment & Labour Hire
- Tigo Ghana
- Allterrain Services Group;
- Boart Longyear;
- Mantrac Ghana Limited;
- CDM Smith, and so on.
Kindly note that in these organisations, you can work as Safety, Health & Environmental Officer; Safety, Security, and Health Inspector; Occupational Health and Safety Officer and Security & Safety Assurance Supervisor. Although, the titles given in organisations may differ, yet, their job functions are almost the same.
Occupational Health and Safety salaries in Ghana
When it comes to the salary being paid anyone who is an Occupational Health and Safety specialist or personnel in Ghana, there are a number of factors that determine that. According to mywage.org, these factors can be based on the years of experience, level of education, the region where such a person is working, and so on. However, an Occupational Health and Safety specialist or personnel should collect between the range of GHS 875 and GHS 1793 while on an average level, such a specialist should receive GHS 1,380 as the monthly pay.
There is a high demand that is placed on specialists in the field of Occupational Health and Safety because of the important roles that they perform. Some of their major functions are discussed in the next few paragraphs.
Importance of Occupational Health and Safety
The fact remains that there is no organisation without its own peculiar hazards. The only difference is that while some of them may be mild, others may be more severe. There are severe cases like that of fire, explosions, and others while there are milder ones which may have to do with the workload and the general well-being of the employees. Little wonder, there are some employees who have come to understand the fact that it is not just about picking up a job; they also try to get an assurance that there is a high level of safety of those who are working in such organisation.
Another important factor that has been adduced to be a part of the reasons why Occupational Health and Safety is needed is the cost-effectiveness. It is always cheaper to avoid an incidence than try to amend it after the wrong has been done. For instance, it would have cost less if there had been necessary measures put in place to avoid an explosion compared to taking an employee who had just suffered injuries in an explosion through an operation.
More so, there would be less stress on the employee. While a lot of employees end up having health challenges because of their busy schedule like long hours of work, work-pressure and even conflicts with other co-workers, a proper measure put in place to cater for the health of the people would have paid off. When things are right and intact, employees would be able to deliver more and also work with good morale.
Therefore, if you consider the level of importance placed on Occupational Health and Safety, it is right to say that anyone who is trained in this field will enjoy a high demand placed on him or her in the marketplace. The truth is, as more companies are being established in Ghana, there will always be a demand for specialists in this field of endeavour. Therefore, if you consider getting trained in this field, you will not be making a mistake at all.