ILO welcomes the Maputo Consensus on safety and health in the oil and gas industry in sub-Saharan Africa

With the support of the ILO, governments, employers and workers from sub-Saharan African countries agreed to promote safer workplaces, productivity, decent work and inclusive economic growth in the industry.

News | 19 May 2017
MAPUTO (ILO News) – Representatives of governments, employers and workers from Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Mozambique and Nigeria have adopted here recommendations  to promote a preventative safety and health culture in the oil and gas industry in sub-Saharan Africa.

During a sectoral meeting organized by the ILO, delegates of sub-Saharan countries discussed policies and exchanged good practices. Participants agreed that the return on investing in occupational safety and health in the oil and gas industry is far greater than the costs.

“If these investments are coupled with policies that prioritize the most urgent challenges, consider the safety and health of workers, and recognize their rights to know the risks and to participate in mitigating the risks, so that they can contribute to safer workplaces, a more productive industry, decent work and inclusive economic growth as well as other Sustainable Development Goals”, they said in a consensus document unanimously adopted at the meeting.

The situation in the oil and gas industry in the region has been improving over time. However, existing hazards in the industry are compounded by extreme heat and humidity. Transportation to and from remote sites can be extremely dangerous, particularly when operations are located in or near conflict-affected areas.
“It sometimes seems that the world takes oil and gas for granted – that the world has forgotten the complex and hazardous operations that are required for obtaining these important resources”, said the General Labour Inspector of Mozambique, Mr Joaquim Moises Siúta.

More and better safety and health data

The participants agreed that the promotion of a preventative safety and health culture is a core component of improving safety and health performance and productivity in the industry in the long term. “Governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations have a shared responsibility to ensure that the right to a safe and healthy working environment is respected at all levels“.
They noted that non-standard forms of employment such as temporary work through agencies, service agreement, outsourcing and sub-contracting arrangement have grown in the industry. Such workers sometimes lack protection in law and practice, and their fatal accident rates are generally higher than the ones of regular employees.

There was general agreement that more and better data and information on occupational accidents and diseases are needed and that it was critical to empower national labour administrations and  labour inspection systems to ensure full compliance with laws and regulation as well as access to appropriate and effective remedy and complaints mechanisms.
Workers and employers also agreed to jointly promote safety and health at work as a critical part of decent work for all workers in the industry through such means as safety and health committees, collective agreements, cross-border social dialogue and international framework agreements.

The ILO was called upon to promote ratification and effective implementation of international labour standards relevant to occupational safety and health in the industry as well as respect for the fundamental principles and rights at work. Efforts are urgently needed to build the capacity of governments, employers and workers to realize these principles, including through South-South and Triangular Cooperation and other forms of development cooperation.

“This was a unique workshop”, concluded Mr Aeneas Chapinga Chuma, the ILO Regional Director for Africa, “because it is the first time that member States, workers and employers from the region have come together to discuss challenges and opportunities that will pave the way for less fatalities and higher productivity – not only in sub-Saharan Africa – but for the industry and millions workers across the world”.