The Management and staff of Sierra Leone Cement Factory (Leocem) are on a week-long celebration of “Safety” which started with a symposium on 26th September- 1st October, 2016, at the company’s head office on Betts Street, Cline Town. The theme for this year’s celebration is: Work in Confined Spaces “Safety First, Safety Always”.
In her welcome and opening remarks, the Human Resource Manager, Ms Daphne During noted that the celebration is important and remarkable to Leocem, adding that being safe is to take precaution in the work place. A minute silence was observed for those who lost their lives in work places throughout the world as a result of accident.
The Works Manager, Fred Oboe-Sam, in his contribution opined that safety or hazard is an everyday occurrence that happens to somebody in the work place, but that they at Leocem because they are aware of the occurrence they use safety measures to prevent hazards. “We are today observing Safety Week to ensure that Leocem is concerned about the safety of the entire work force”.
The Works Manager assured that the safety week would be used to sensitize workers on the need to be safe at work and at the same time engage in training programmes and quiz competitions. He said the celebration would also include outdoor activities all geared towards the enhancement of workers safety.
The representative from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Bashiru Kargbo congratulated the Management of Leocem for raising awareness on workers’ safety. He noted that a weak and wretched work force cannot produce good results. He said as an environmental agency they are very much concerned about the safety of workers nationwide. “This is why we monitor companies for compliance with the environmental and safety laws of the state”.
A representative of the Workers Union, Emmanuel Pratt while he lauded Management for organizing such a forum, equally lamented over the conspicuous absence of the Ministers of Health and Sanitation and Labour and Industrial Relations.
He noted that some employers are unrealistic, unsympathetic and wicked when it comes to issues bordering on workers’ welfare. He emphatically stated that workers by law are supposed to work in a conducive atmosphere. He congratulated Leocem for showing exemplary leadership in terms of safety.
Member of Parliament for Constituency 103, Honourable Rosaline Smith commended the Leocem Management for the safety measures put in place, while she acknowledged the fact that the word safety is a relative term and that it is difficult to eliminate all safety hazards
The Member of Parliament noted that for an organization or industry to produce quality products the safety of workers should be paramount and she was delighted that Leocem took the challenge very serious. Honourable Smith also lauded Management for its compliance with the rules and regulations especially those that have to do with corporate social responsibility.
Giving the keynote address, the Managing Director of Leocem, Arne B. Johansen said the safety week is an annual event that is celebrated internationally and not limited to Sierra Leone alone. He said the company is not only concerned about zero fatality but zero harm as well. He said the authority to stop the company from production as a result of unsafe and unhealthy environment lies with the Safety and Health Environment Officer.
He added that their responsibility as a company is to reduce the risk of pollution to a bare minimum, and that they are partnering with EPA the professional head. He said Management is making sure that workers are professionally trained to increase awareness. “This is why we involve all stakeholders in our safety education including drivers and distributors of our products”, he concluded.