From Albert Nana Asante
THE GENERAL Secretary of the Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU), Mr. Prince Ankrah, has stressed the urgent need for the government to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 176 on Health and Safety in mines.
Speaking to the press in Obuasi to launch a campaign to get the government to ratify the (ILO), Mr. Ankrah warned that the union would not appreciate any feet dragging from the government.
“The Safety and Health in Mines Convention 1995 (No. 176) is central to achieving decent work in an industry, which has occupational safety and health as its main challenge, that is why we are not going to allow the current government to follow the situation whereby successive governments would give the assurance, and yet will not ratify the convention.”
He said the convention was a good one, since it defined a mine to cover surface or underground sites where exploration for minerals, excluding oil and gas, that involved the mechanical disturbance of the ground.
He was however, happy that part three of the convention, which deals with preventive and protective measures at the mines, empowered the mining companies to assess all manners of risks, and deal with them in order of priority to guarantee the safety of the workers and enhance their health status.
“Under the convention, workers have the right to report accidents, dangerous occurrences and hazards to the employer and the competent authority; to request and obtain, where there is cause for concern on safety and health grounds.”
The General Secretary said recent major mine disasters in some parts of the world, should influence stakeholders in the mining industry to support the campaign for the country to ratify the convention.