Workplace health and safety measures should be extended to homes – Hamilton

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Workplace health and safety measures should be extended to homes, Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton said during a recent media briefing.

He explained that there is an important need to change the culture towards safety in Guyana.

And as such, the Ministry of Labour is in discussions with three public relations companies to deal holistically with the matter of health and safety for all in Guyana.

“It’s not just an employer/employee matter. We have a big bomb in our house all day – a gas cylinder. Some people don’t understand that.

“Workplaces as it regards to health and safety, we have to extend it to residents,” Hamilton related.

In the meantime, the investigation into the workplace incident which claimed the life of Cindy Jattan, an employee at Gafoors, Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara location, is ongoing.

“The company has been cooperating, from the law they have some procedural things they have to do. First, they have to report the accident and then they have to full up several forms and the investigation is continuing.”

He further said: “It was a tragedy and we have to review if it could have been avoided, my technical people who were on site will advise regarding that matter.”

Workplace deaths moved from 32 deaths in 2020 to 27 deaths in 2021. Up until July of this year, nine workplace deaths were recorded.

The ministry continues to do training on occupational health and safety with all companies and government facilities.

He is also reminding companies and businesses that they are mandated by the law to establish a Health and Safety Committee.

“…because the law says once you have more than 19 persons you must have a health and safety committee.

“The law stipulates who must be the members, how frequent you must have meetings, all the minutes must be kept, so in the event you have a situation we can go back to the history of the health and safety committee,” Hamilton explained.

Minister Hamilton revealed that there are also talks about increasing fines and penalties for when companies and businesses are found culpable in workplace incidents where someone died or was badly injured.

“The penalties at the moment are not substantial enough and we have some recommendations to increase fines to large numbers,” noting that most of the companies would often offer to settle matters outside of the court.

“They want to be seen by the public as good and moral citizens, so they come to the table to avoid the court.”

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