Ukpono Ukpong, Abuja
The Federal Government has called for strict adherence to the Diving at Work Regulations, 2018, and the adoption of established good practices, aimed at eliminating hazards associated with diving operations.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, made the call in Abuja at the National Stakeholders’ Awareness and Sensitization on the Diving at Work Regulations workshop, organized for stakeholders in the Diving sector.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director, Human Resources Management in the Ministry, Ajibola Ibrahim, said that despite the high risk nature of diving operations, Nigeria had hitherto lacked a Diving Regulation.
He however noted that the Diving industry in the country would henceforth be fully regulated, with the coming on stream of the Diving at Work Regulations, 2018.
Describing diving as a highly hazardous activity conducted in a non-respirable environment, with the divers risking drowning, injuries, diseases and death, Ngige noted that “The development and adoption of the Diving at Work Regulations 2018 will provide the much needed Safety and Health guidance to the diving industry.
The Diving Regulations will provide the legal framework to regulate all diving operations carried out offshore, inshore and onshore within the territorial waters of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He further stated that the Regulations would guide the implementation of intervention and inspection programmes, to reduce occupational hazards related to the diving sector, which would ultimately lead to higher productivity in that industry.
The Minister also disclosed that “Diving at Work Regulations in Nigeria also constitutes a critical component of a sound promotional framework for Occupational Safety and Health, and provides a strategic approach to the development of a National Preventive Safety and Health Culture, as is currently being sought globally.”
Earlier, in a welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo, said that the Diving at Work Regulations would provide the needed Occupational Safety and Health guidance to the diving industry with regard to policy and procedures for the elimination of hazards associated with diving operations.
Represented by the Director, Occupational Safety and Health, Dr Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, the Permanent Secretary said the coming on board of the Regulations in Nigeria would significantly reduce the number of accidents and their consequences, as well as increase operations efficiency, enterprise performance, and productivity in the sector.
He added that the Regulation would improve the professional skills and technical know-how of Nigerians in the diving sector, and would also provide a guide for stakeholders’ compliance with relevant provisions of the Factories Act, for a safer subsea work environment and processes.
In goodwill messages, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigerian Navy, Department of Petroleum Resources, Lagos State Safety Commission, and National Association of Professional Divers (NAPD) pledged support to the Ministry of Labour and Employment in driving the implementation of the Diving at Work Regulations, 2018.