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By NBF News
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Employees of the Industrial Metalizing and Packaging Company Limited (IMPCO), at Fatai Atere Road, Matori, Lagos, are pleading with the Lagos State Safety Commission to open the company premises following its seal-off last Wednesday, February 8, 2012, over its safety proceure.

The workers said the accident leading to the death of one of the newly employed staffers of the company was quite unfortunate and should not be linked to occupational health or Safety or even environmental lapse or laxity by the management.

They, therefore, express their condolence to the family of the deceased and pray that God will grant them the fortitude to bear the loss and also that the entire staff and management empathize with them. In addition, they said such unpleasant incident had never occurred since the company's inception in 1985.

There are safety procedures as clearly spelt out in the factory safety rules and instructions in the Handbook given to new employees. These include operations of safety devices and appliances put in place in the company, the employees said, and hence would want the State Safety Commission to come to their assistance by re-opening the company.

They said that they are losing a lot, including wages and majority of them are breadwinners in their various families.

Mr Samuel Odumuyiwa, a supervisor, explained that he had been with the company for 21 years now and no job-related death has been recorded: 'With the benefit of having worked in other plastic companies in the past, I can testify that IMPCO has one of the best conditions of service and safe work environment. All the production machines are in top condition with maintenance carried out regularly and the welfare of the employees is not taken for granted; every member of staff has an insurance cover. It is necessary to note that the company is feeding over 700 families on a daily basis, so what are we talking about?' he asked.

The Marketing manager of IMPCO, Mr. Mike Ekweonu, also stated that safety issue has been a priority of the company. 'Production rooms are ventilated, machines are pasted with hazards signs and posters placed strategically where they should be. Machines are operated by trained/technical personnel who are qualified in the relevant fields. I started working in this company in 1987 and never has such accident occurred. There is an emergency ambulance available in case of the unexpected happening and there is also an in-plant clinic on ground to treat any member of staff, apart from the fact that the company puts some grade A hospitals on retainership. What happened is a mystery and pray that the deceased rests in peace,' he said.

He pleaded with Mrs. Dominga Odebunmi, the Director-General of the Lagos State Safety Commission, and the leader of the team that carried out inspection on the company to revisit 'our factory and re-open it, so that other measures recommended can be fully implemented.'

Mr Joseph Emolike, Executive Secretary of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), said it would be better not to comment on the issue now until the state's safety commission revisits the matter.

The company's Consultant, Mrs. Charity Olatunji, an HSE specialist, said since the issue concerns human life and, in this case irreparable loss of human being, therefore, all the existing safety procedures, devices, appliances, including the HSE policy and manual will be reviewed jointly with the constituted in-house HSE committee, but she pleaded for the immediate re-opening of the facility so that the workers would not be idle for too long.