The Sekondi Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STCCI) on Wednesday 25th September 2019, commenced the annual two-day Ghana Industry Safety Conference (GHISCON) being organized in Takoradi in the Western Region.
The theme for this year's conference which brought together captains of industry, climate change campaigners, safety managers and players of the country's oil and gas sector is "Climate change and occupational health and safety"
In his welcome address, Chairman of STCCI, Ato Van-Ess, explained the significance of this year's conference.
"This 5th edition of the conference seeks to broaden the scope of safety consideration by industry in general and the country as a whole. A number of activities undertaken by industry and the citizenry have significant negative impact on the welfare of workers and the environment", he said.
"A combination of ignorance, apathy and sheer malice has contributed to the growing danger that each of us face as we go about our daily activities. This has informed the choice of theme for this year's conference "Climate Change and Occupational Health and Safety", he continued.
He added, "I am particularly delighted about the topic for our consideration during these two days of conference, because whether we are aware of it or not, whether we believe it or not; climate change is real and we are all affected by negative effects of climate change".
Explaining the consequences of climate change, Ato Van-Ess said Africa and for that matter Ghana is mostly worst hit by natural disasters. "The devastation experienced in African and the world's poorest countries, is borne out of the unprecedentedness and the absence of mitigating actions in the event of such disasters".
"The developed world has not been spared the cruelty of natural disasters. These countries have however been able to reduce its impact on their economies and its people though through proactive planning and efficient disaster management practices. Thus if the advanced economies have increased their consideration of issues of climate change and working on reducing its effect and its impact, Africa and for that matter Ghana, cannot turn a blind eye to the issue", he noted.
Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission and convenor of the conference, Dr. Toni Aubynn, opened the conference and commended STCCI for bracing the odds to sustain the laudable conference for about five years since its inception.
Western Regional Minister Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah in an address explained the impact of the conference on development of the region. He called on participants to take advantage of the peaceful atmosphere in the region
He said climate change places greater responsibility on all Ghanaians to act right in order to mitigate the impact. He also took time to market the tourism potential of the region.
The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, who was one of the guest speakers at the event, acknowledged the role of GHISCON in sustaining safety campaign in the country.
He cautioned employers against actions fomenting climate change activities. "We are producing jobs, but the jobs must be green", he advised.
The Minister also appealed to employers to get used to technology. He said they must be aware of the technological advancement happening worldwide. "If you are not careful, others will drive you out of business through technology".
He disclosed that Ghana's vulnerability in climate change constantly manifest itself in the annual ritual of floods and other disasters occurring in the country.
Consequently, he urged employers and private sector players in industry to be mindful of new developments happening with regards to climate change.
According to him, it calls for public private partnership and dispassionate dialogue, with attention particularly on occupational safety and health. "We have to deepen collaboration with industry", he appealed passionately.
According to Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, the Paris agreement on climate change places greater responsibility on Ghana and other countries to reduce green house gas emissions
He said Ghana ought to work hard to introduce mitigating actions in response to impact of climate change.