Technical committee to probe electrocution of construction worker


Following the electrocution of a construction worker, Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton on Wednesday said that his ministry and the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. have established a technical committee to investigate the incident and to monitor worksites.

Leon Turpin was electrocuted last week while performing maintenance duties on a multi-story building along Regent Street in Georgetown.

At the sidelines of an event at the Regency Suites Hotel, Minister Hamilton, in response to questions from the press, said, “What I know is that they have done an investigation in conjunction with GPL and we are about to establish a technical committee with GPL to deal specifically with this matter.”

This committee will handle the dissemination of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulations and best practices. While the minister could not provide specific details on the progress of the investigation, he assured that the OHS department is working on the case.

Turpin, a supervisor, was performing his duties at the Sachi Building, which is owned by Termanan Rankumar, when he came into contact with an electrical wire.

The Labour Ministry had noted that he 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) where he was treated.

Another incident that occurred at the weekend caused a power outage in Georgetown, Demerara and Berbice. The power company had said that an excavator came into contact with a main distribution feeder at the Kingston Power plant.

The minister said that health and safety is a huge issue that requires a lot of attention and there are complaints from all sectors. He said that minor accidents have massive impacts because regulations are not followed. For this reason, several committees are being established.

“To help in that regard, we have set up joint technical committees with the Fire Service, GPL and all the other agencies that should have something to do with safety and health,” Minister Hamilton said.

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