‘Let us set the example’- GMSA President urges employers to practice safety in workplaces
Reminding employers that they must lead by example, the President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), Rafeek Khan, on Wednesday urged them to adhere to safety practices.
Khan addressed participants at a seminar held at the Regency Suites Hotel, Hadfield Street, aimed at educating businesses associated with the GMSA, the employers and staff, about the labour laws regarding work conditions, health and safety requirements and apprenticeship services.
Khan noted that oftentimes, business owners and managers do not always wear safety gear, especially when in the field. He said though this could be because the managers are not operating, they must remember that the workplace can only become safer when examples are set.
“Sometimes we [employers] don’t want to wear our own safety gears because we think we are the boss, or we think we are the manager but yet we want to ensure that our employees do it, so I would like us to set the example, be the role models in our companies when it come s to health and safety,” the GMSA President said.
Khan said that companies must ensure that health and safety are not considered to be just another checklist to be followed but a way of improving their business and the services they provide.
“The oil and gas industry has been somewhat setting the standards for us to follow in some areas such as ISO certification, safety compliance and companies are having to do it just to be able to get contracts but that should not be the key motivator here,” the GMSA President reminded the gathering.
Meanwhile, Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton said knowledge of occupational health and safety is important for companies to avoid life-threatening risks at the workplace.
He explained that the lives of breadwinners have been lost due to accidents that could have been avoided if regulations were followed.
“Either we change as a people or as a nation or we prepare regularly to go play cards and dominoes at wake houses and bury them the next day…we must change and recognise the importance of safety,” Minister Hamilton said.
He warned employers to follow the labour laws in order to avoid charges before the court.
Notably, the seminar is only an addition to many workshops carried out in 2021 and 2022 by the Labour Ministry.
According to the Chief Labour Officer, Daneshwar Deonarine, some 8,500 employees were reached after employers and staff attended these seminars.