What Is OHS? & Why It Is Important To Know
This is one of my articles that were originally published at The Daily Outlook Afghanistan News Paper, at the 12th of January 2020,
OHS means “Occupational Health & Safety”, the three words that either our society is not familiarized with or those who are familiar, ignore it or can not do anything about it, since we were at a severe bad economic and political situation in the past 50 years, Afghanistan needs to recreate everything from the brink of its organizational extinction.
OHS basically is concerned with the safety, health, and wellbeing of people at work, from the unbalanced chair we sit on at the office, to the polluted air we breathe at the workplace, and from the work stress we carry as employees on our shoulders, to the tensions of job insecurity in our society, all add to the reality of being OHS absent in a nation-wide manner in Afghanistan, afterwards occupational helath and safety is a peculiar mater for most of our people, for example a laboring man at Kote-Sange, Chawk Square or Haji-Yaqoob Square, who is suffering from a back injury caused by the absence of “No Lifting Policy” has no idea what kind of rights he has, all he thinks is how to get the opportunity for a particular day to work, yet the employer is benefiting from the lack of employee’s information, to provide another example the issue of drug and alcohol testing of the drivers could be concise, we see a lot of accidents on high-ways, yet there is not a single policy with a drug and alcohole testing system that the highway-traffic or police perform for the safety of the drivers as well as the travelers, to give the last, but not the least example a man working on a construction site died at Ghazni province due to the absence of OHS rules and regualtions, while these pictures that I just drew is not painting the whole scenario, thus could lead to some basic information about the issue of occupational health and safety.
Putting the whole issue in perspective the question can be posed as what are the reasons behind the unawareness of our GOs and NGOs regarding the OHS rules, regulations and the absence of its implementation causing the above-mentioned short term and long term fatal outcomes that the afghan labor experiences? however, the answers to this question point to problems in three key areas, which the inexistence of occupational health and safety policy in the government is one of them, following with the unawareness of the labor force about their rights, and ending with the undesirable political and financial situation that this country is suffering from.
Speaking of solutions firstly the Afghan government needs to take serious measures and should start with the intention of making at least a policy concerning the occupational health and safety, the technicality can involve the Ministry of labor and social affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Industry and Commerce, secondly, experts and media play a vital role to spread awareness related to occupational health and safety to the labor force of the country, and thirdly social societies should form organizations to take action and force the government to come up with a policy while in long term inspect from its implementation, and in conclusion, our educational institutions should intensify the importance of OHS on their curricular programs.
The outcomes of this phenomenon being present can be fruitful, for instance, this policy can lead to the establishment of an official unit for OHS in Afghanistan because our government does not have such special unit for standardizing organizational regulations and inspection for OHS, this policy will allow companies, our educational institutions, and government to have a comprehensive image of occupational health and safety. Whereas It will be a win-win situation for the organizations, the government and the citizens of this country, because the organizations will be safe from a potentially high-risk of manpower-loss, while the government will fulfill the responsibility of protecting businesses, citizens, and economic growth of the country besides the citizens will enjoy safer, and healthier professional life as well as an upgraded life standard.