DHBC launches OSH Handbook with ILO’s support
The Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation earlier today unveiled its Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Handbook, which was drafted with support from the International Labour Organization.
The document was also presented to stakeholders for feedback when the Ministry of Social Protection hosted a consultation session.
The new OSH policy seeks to build on the existing one taking into account modern workplace practices.
According to the Ministry of Social Protection, the OSH Policy was first introduced in 1993 and subsequently revised in 1996 and sets guidelines for compliance to ensure safety is prioritized in the working environment.
Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott during Thursday’s unveiling quoted statistics which show that for 2015, there were 1,200 loss time accidents and more than 2,000 workplace fatalities, while so far this year there have been 500 loss time accidents and 9 fatalities.
Scott said his ministry is committed not only to ensuring that these accidents and fatalities are investigated, but that they are prevented.
“I wish to submit that no amount of money can compensate an injured worker. It is against such a backdrop that every employer must at all times endeavor to provide a safe working environment for his employees,” Scott pointed out.
In this regard, he applauded the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC) for its initiative in producing the Hand Book and not merely sticking to the development of a Safety Policy.
Meantime, delivering the feature address, Social Protection Minister, Volda Lawrence noted that the launch of the OSH handbook comes at an opportune time, since Guyana cannot afford to lose precious human resources.
“The presence of this manual in all workplaces should eliminate the laissez- faire attitude that prevails in many of our working environments. It is envisioned that this manual would become an invaluable source of reference, serving to heighten awareness of the dos and don’ts of the workplace. Further it is hoped that this document would not become a wall decoration, but an integral part of staff and management meetings. It must be discussed at all levels so that all are au fait with the best practices. All must be involved in the process, if we are to effectively minimize accidents in the workplace and create a conducive working ambience that all can enjoy,” she noted.
The Minister said now that there is a guide for OSH, how it is used will prove to be important for future development.
International Labour Organization (ILO) Caribbean Director, Claudia Coenjaerts in brief remarks pointed out that Occupational Safety and Health is connected to productivity.