Union wants ‘health and safety’ audit of all Gov’t workplaces
The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) – representing the majority of the public servants – is calling for a comprehensive health and safety audit of all workplaces occupied by State-employed workers.
This request comes on the heels of the mercury threat at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Gold Board (GGB), where employees went on strike until the Ministry of Natural Resources found verifiable solutions to the issue.
Citing occupational health and safety concerns at the Camp Street Headquarters of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the GPSU in a statement Wednesday said it is critical for the Government to assess the health and safety standards in workplaces across the country – at least by those operated by the State.
“It is the view of the GPSU that this is the opportune time for government, in collaboration with the Union, to undertake a comprehensive safety and health audit at workplaces occupied by state-employed workers and to take immediate steps, where necessary, to effect upgrading measures, where necessary,” the GPSU stated.
The Union pointed out that, in relation to the GRA situation, the Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan made a promise some two years ago to address the issue.
“In this regard the GPSU wishes to restate its concerns over the failure on the part of Government to take serious action to correct the safety and health concerns which, as far as we are aware, continue to obtain on the Camp Road premises housing the Guyana Revenue Authority. This, despite the public undertaking given by Finance Minister Winston Jordan more than two years ago that the safety and health concerns would have been addressed,” the Union said.
Meanwhile, regarding the mercury threat, the Ministry has since closed the Gold Board laboratory which was the source of the mercury emissions and the GPSU urged that immediate steps be taken to open an alternative location for the mineral to be processed.
The GPSU said it is satisfied with the decision to cease the operations of the lab at the Brickdam Office compound but it is still calling for a professional examination of the premises in order to ensure that there are no residual health dangers arising out of the protracted mercury-related processing of gold on the premises.
The Union also demanded that the workers who had been potentially put at risk to seek treatment-related action as is necessary at the expense of the Government of Guyana.