Breaches of Occupational Safety and Health Act led to JFL’s employee’s death


The official report of the investigation into the death of Orin Anthony Morris has found the John Fernandes Wharf to be in a series of breaches of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Chapter 99:10 and that the fatal accident could have been avoided.


The report was handed over to John Fernandes Limited by Chief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle, on behalf of the Ministry of Social Protection on Friday.


The report outlined breaches by the company in relation to the act as; “an undated and archaic Employee Safety Manual, An absence of coherent policy implementation programme and Violations of the guidelines for loading and clearing lifts and swing paths led to Morris’ death and lack of appropriate supervision which led to the death of Morris; supervisor was not on site at the time of the fatal accident.”


It also disclosed that the Bai Shan Lin crew on the barge never offered any assistance to help rescue Morris.


Additionally, the report revealed that there was an absence of Emergency and Rescue Operation Plan and Programme since there were no life-saving devices such as life jackets or life-saving rings that could have been used to rescue Morris.


Ogle further stated that “the Ministry is uninterested in promoting conflict and antagonism with employers when the need arises to investigate industrial incidents, however, the full force of the law will be unleashed against the non-cooperative employers.”


48-year-old Morris of Lot 961 ‘B’ Field Sophia, Georgetown had been performing duties on a pontoon around 2 am on July 20 at the John Fernandes Wharf, when he was hit by a log which was being moved by a crane and fell into the Demerara River. The body of the father of seven was retrieved from the river on July 21.

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