A class room at OSHA in Tanzania, where workers learn about risk assessment. © G. Tjalvin
The main instruments for keeping the workplace safe are education and information. The employer is responsible for giving the workers the necessary education and training in how to perform their work in a safe manner. This training must be given before the worker starts in the job, and regularly updated afterwards. In additon, the education must be given in a language the worker understands. Training in safety and health is now improving and increasing in many countries. By investing in training, countries are better prepared to ensure safety and health in the work places. However, there needs to be both training as well as implementing of national requirements for good safety and health practices at the workplaces. The employer is also responsible for giving the workers enough information regarding the workplace and exposures so that the workers know what they will be exposed to, how it may affect them and how to protect themselves. It is only when the workers themselves know and understands the risk they are exposed to that the workplace can really be safe, because if they know and understand the risk, they will work to reduce and minimize it.
Who can train workers?
It might be difficult to set up appropriate training programmes. Such programmes are relatively common and easy to access in developed countries, but in developing countries there might be very few options. However, solutions can be found. Here are a few examples of how to deal with this challenge:
Training can be performed by attending courses organized by authorities such as The Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OSHA) in Tanzania. They started courses in safety and health and train workers from different workplaces. Also in other countries, it might be a possibility to contact the labour inspections for help on where and how workers can be trained in safety.
Companies with Occupational Health Services (OHS) can ask these units for help in training workers. This is a part of the normal work in OHS units, you will learn more about this later in this course.
The Occupational Hygiene Training Association (OHTA) has developed an international training scheme. They offer courses and course modules electronically in a system you can find on the web. Official exams can be given in relation to this system at examination boards in different countries. This might be more useful for specific safety workers employed in companies, who can then be responsible for disseminating the information at their workplace.
Napo films can be used for training. These are short films you can find on the web. The topics differ, and you can for instance look at the Napo in Safe on Site film og Napo in Safe Maintenance. These films are available in 28 languages. They can be showed to groups of workers, to start a discussion.
African Newsletter Number 3, 2015 tells more about these options for training in occupational health and safety.
© University of Bergen/Authors: O.J. Møllerløkken, G. Tjalvin, B.E. Moen