FRANCISTOWN: Senior sustainability manager at Debswana, Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines, George Sehunelo has decried the lack of qualified graduates in occupational, health and safety (OHS) management, which is key in every organisation.
He was speaking at the Ba Isago University stakeholder consultative meeting themed ‘Occupational Health and Safety in 2015 and Beyond’ at Adansonia Hotel last Friday.
Sehunelo stated that the theme was appropriate because there is a dire need of fully qualified OHS practitioners, especially in the mining sector.
He said most of the graduates they have do not meet the standards relevant to the market.
“Many of them hold a diploma in OHS, however, diploma is no longer relevant in meeting the market of the global village. We are now in dire need of degree holders and even higher levels in which we hope Ba Isago University will produce,” he said.
He indicated that OHS is good for business as well as being a legal and social obligation as it prevents people from being harmed or fall ill through work. It is also an essential part of a successful business.
In addition, the absence of OHS in businesses has undesirable consequences such as disabling injuries, which will result in absence from work and resultant compensation.
“Diseases and disabilities which in turn will have adverse consequences on service delivery and productivity as a whole are likely to suffer if companies do not have OHS policies,” added Sehunelo.
On his part the vice president for academic affairs and research at Ba Isago University, Rumarayi Tadu said that health and safety are enablers of economic growth. Tadu said that as Ba Isago University they strive to create that environment hence their Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Management.
He revealed that of the world’s 2.7 billion workers, about two million deaths are attributable to occupational diseases and injuries in which most could have been avoided if OHS was in place.
“Generally, when people think health and safety they think of mines and yet whatever business they are in there is always a possibility of an accident,” he said.
Tadu added: “It is the university’s view that OHS should be part of the business processes of re-engineering”.
He noted that attention to health and safety is not just about being socially responsible.
Tadu added that the university’s OHS course would be able to provide useful learning experience by exposing learners to emerging workplace technologies, their risks and measures to deal with them.
“As Ba Isago University we pride ourselves in producing graduates that are ready for the work environment as well as providing courses relevant to today’s vast market,” he said.