Labour Ministry investigating electrocution of construction worker, unsafe workplace practices


A day after Leon Turpin was electrocuted while performing maintenance duties on a multi-story building along Regent Street, the Labour Ministry is reminding persons of the importance of good workplace safety and health practices.

In a press release on Wednesday, the Ministry said an investigation has been launched by the Occupational Safety and Health Department into the serious workplace incident.

The incident involved Turpin, a supervisor, who was performing his duties on Tuesday, at the Sachi Building, located at Lot 136 “E”Regent Street, Lacytown, Georgetown. The building is owned by Termanan Rankumar.

Johana Vaughn, senior occupational safety and health (OSH) officer, visited the scene and has been informed that the man was on an aluminum scaffold attempting to install a pressure plate on the glass frame at the front of the building when the pressure plate met a live electrical wire.

Turpin suffered burns to his hands and other parts of his body and was rushed to the emergency unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). He is alive.

The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) in a brief statement on Tuesday said that the man came into contact with the network via a metal pole and this resulted in a shutdown of power in “sections of Georgetown, the entire West Bank and West Coast of Demerara.”

Meanwhile, the Guyana Police Force noted that the man came into contact with “a high-voltage electrical wire” while doing construction work at the top of the building.

Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton wishes Turpin a speedy recovery and confirms that a thorough investigation will be conducted to answer the many unanswered questions.

Minister Hamilton has also reiterated his concern about workplace injuries and emphasizes the importance of good workplace safety and health practice, the release further said.

The release adds that the ministry’s OHS department is aggressively addressing unsafe workplace conditions and unsafe work practices through inspections and audits that occur in both the formal and informal economies.

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