The lack of transport and other logistics is affecting the operations of the Department of Factories Inspectorate (DFI).
For the past 30 years, the department, which is under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), has had only two vehicles to execute its mandate of helping organisations to manage and control occupational safety and health risks, as well as reduce occupational accidents and diseases.
As a result of the challenges, the DFI could only inspect 2,000 out of the 6,000 registered factories in the country last year.
The Chief Inspector of Factories at the DFI, Mr Fredrick Ohene-Mensah, disclosed this when he received five Nissan pick-up vehicles, valued at GH¢650,110, from the MELR in Accra.
The inspector also identified low staff strength as another major challenge hampering work at the department.
According to him, “currently we have only 40 personnel across the entire country. At least we would need 100 people to work in all 10 regions”.
Mr Ohene-Mensah expressed appreciation for the vehicles and said they would help his outfit undertake proactive monitoring and investigations on occupational safety and health at the workplace.
The sector Minister, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, who handed over the vehicles, said for every industrial sector to be productive and safe, it needed to meet guidelines on decent work ethics and standards set by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Apart from ensuring that organisations complied with international standards which Ghana had signed up to, he noted, the re-tooling of the department would play a crucial role in achieving the government’s ‘One-district One-factory’ vision.
The minister advised the leadership of the department to ensure the vehicles were maintained regularly and also put to judicious use.
The DFI’s mission is to promote and safeguard the health and safety of people employed on the premises of companies which fall within the purview of the Factories, Offices and Shops Act, 1970 (Act 328).
As part of its activities, the department is tasked with the responsibility of approving building plans for premises which are intended to be used as factories to ensure that provisions for the health and safety of persons intended to be employed are adequate and satisfactory, having regard to the requirements of the Factories, Offices and Shops Act and its related regulations. — GNA