The Health, Safety and Environment of Works

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Employees have to spend most of their hours and days working at the workplace. Work provides mostly economic, social and psychological and even financial experiences that helps to promote the mental well-being of individuals. The work environment should be free of hazards as much as possible to bring forth a healthy and decent work for the workforce. However, numerous illnesses, property damage, injuries and process losses take place at different workplaces.

WHO Standard Definition of Health

A state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Hence individuals and nation need this for productivity and development.

The Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service, in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO) country office also went on to commission the development of policy and guideline on health and safety for the health sector and this was published in June 2010. But these are very limited in scope given the multifarious varied distribution of industrial operations within the Ghanaian work setting.

Work environments deal on occupational health which could be defined as the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social wellbeing of the workers in all employment sectors by preventing ill health, controlling risks and the work adaptation to people and people to their jobs.

For an industry to be sustained and attain her business goal, a healthy workforce is inevitable. This is achieved in the presence of healthful and safe environment. In the same vein, employees and employers need a safe and healthy environment to meet their objectives.

An employer is required to look out for the health and safety of workers at the workplace in accordance with the provisions of the Factories Act and Labour Law. It is obligatory for the employer, under an employment contract to provide safe system and place of work and take measures to ensure the safety of the worker.

Labour is regarded as the most important aspect of production, but the efforts of the employees coupled with the labour equal a great outcome.

The Ghana Labour Act goes on to define workplace as that which includes any place where a worker needs to be or to go by reason of his/her work which is under the control of the worker . Burton defines a healthy workplace as : “a place where everyone works together to achieve an agreed vision for the health and well-being of workers and the surrounding community. It goes to provide all members of the workforce with physical, psychological, social and organizational conditions that protect and helps to promote health and safety. It enables managers and workers to increase control over their own health and to improve it, and to become more energetic, positive and contented”

Labour Act

Section 9: in a contract of employment, duties of an employer
[a] provide work and appropriate work materials, machinery, equipment and tools.
[c] take all practicable steps to ensure that the workers are free from risk, or personal injury or damage to his or her health during and in course of the worker’s employment or while lawfully on the employer’s premises
The law imposes on their employers to guarantee the safety on their employees as it is not just their legal duty but that which is also done in the best interest of the employees.

Section 10: rights of a worker
[a] the right to work under satisfactory, safe and healthy conditions.

Section 11 [f] duties of a worker to take all reasonable care for the safety and health of fellow workers.
Section 11 [g] to protect the interest of the employer.

Article 24 [1] 1992 constitution
Every person has a right to work under satisfactory safe and healthy conditions.

When an employee is injured, labour output is reduced by a margin as to when the employee is in good health. Everybody wants to feel safe in their working environment that is why these safety measures are put in the first place to be adhered to. and there are also laws backing up the safety of the employees and employers in working environments.

An employee’s working morale decreases if there is no occupational safety, workplace safety is very important to every employer and employee in a working industry because all workers desire to work in a safe and a well-protected environment.

The employers’ obligation under the Labour Act includes:

  • Setting standards to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees
  • Providing personal protection equipment
  • providing necessary information, supervision and training consistent with the level of literacy of the employees.
  • Employees have the right to know about hazards in the workplace
  • Information about injuries and illness in the workplace
  • Complain and/or request hazard correction from employment
  • E free from retaliation for exercising safety and health rights the state owes its citizens protection needed to keep them alive and work so they can earn and be able to pay their taxes, this purpose can be achieved by their organs, agencies and laws.

Republic v Jackson

Health and safety measures act seeks to ensure the working environment is safe and not one where an employee would contact diseases or lose his or her life. The Ghana Workmen’s Compensation Law 1987 (PNDC 187) requires that the employer pays all medical expenses related to any workplace-related accident, and in addition, pay some compensation to the accident victim. Industrial or occupational accidents can have, and in fact, do have a great effect on the mental health of victims as well as others who witnessed the incident. Health and safety of employees at the workplace are costly to the individual employees and their families, employers and the nation as a whole. The government of Ghana has introduced Acts (e.g., Labour Act, 2003, Act 651 and Factories, Shops and Offices Act 1970, Act 328) and many other subsumed policies to protect the health, safety and welfare of all workers. The Labour Act, for example, makes it obligatory for the employer to “ensure that every worker employed in Ghana works under satisfactory, safe and healthy conditions (Labour Act, 2003 Act 651, Article 118:1). Given the wide range of potential and/or actual undesired events associated with the myriad of workgroups in Ghana from different work settings, there seems to be a missing link between legislative or policy provisions and application of contents of the various legislative acts and instruments by employers. Labour Act 2003, Act 651, Part XV, sections 118 to 120 apparently directs employers and employees in their roles and responsibilities in managing Occupational Health, Safety and Environment in the nation.

Work is very essential in human life and provides a number of psychological experiences that promote the mental well-being of individuals, aside from the financial gains. These include providing time structure, social contact, and collective effort in a social context aside from the family.

Also, the Act requires employers to report accidents to appropriate government agencies. Employees are mandated to exercise their actions with reasonable care and skill as they go about their normal jobs at their workplaces to ensure their safety and also ensure the safety of others. The Act, however, is not specific on how to implement safety provisions at the organizational level and about whom accidents should be reported to and occupational illnesses to. It is not even clear or does not specify what to consider or classify as an Occupational Illness. It does not specify who is to be responsible for ensuring the industries in Ghana implement corrective actions as per recommendations. There is no national body, policy nor processes that govern health and safety management in Ghana. Work is at the very core of contemporary life for most people, providing financial security, personal identity, and an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to community life and family.


  1. Burton, J. (2009). WHO Healthy Workplace Framework: Background and Supporting Literature and Practices. Retrieved on February 19, 2015 from http://www.who.int/occupational_health/healthy_workplace_framework.pdf
  2. European centre for research and training development Journal UK Ghana labour Act 2003 (Act 651)
  3. WHO (2003).Authored by S. Leka, A. Griffiths, & T. Cox, work organization and Stress. Protecting workers Health Series, No. 3. Geneva: World Health Organization.
  4. https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/employment-law/employers-obligations-liability-for-employees-law-essays.
  5. https://www.ilo.org/ifpdial/information-resources/national-labour-law-profiles/WCMS_158898/lang–en/index.htm
  6. https://mywage.org/nigeria/labour-law/health-safety
  7. https://docplayer.net/110677-Work-organization-stress.html

Cite this paper

The Health, Safety and Environment of Works. (2020, Nov 10). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-health-safety-and-environment-of-works/

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