Worksite safety: Agencies under scrutiny for not complying with best practices

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With five workplace incidents already reported for the first quarter of 2023, Labour Minister, Joseph Hamilton has said that agencies are under scrutiny for not following safety protocols.

Hamilton disclosed this during his remarks at the Fourth Annual American Chamber of Commerce of Guyana Health, safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) conference at the Guyana Marriott Hotel.

This year it is held under the theme: “Navigating Health and Safety Challenges in the Modern Workplace.”

He said employees are exposed to many risks in the workplace ranging from biological, chemical and physical hazards, to psychosocial and economic hazards and that the ministry, by extension the government, is committed to promoting safety for all workers.

He also noted that incidents reported in the agriculture sector are being addressed as well.

“We know about the man who was attempting to tunnel through the forest to get his gold and he died, those are on the front page but I believe a lot of deaths are happening in agriculture.

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton during his address at the conference (Photo: Ministry of Labour/ April 25, 2023)

“Just that people are dying over longer periods because of the way how they are spraying whatever they are spraying. We are paying some attention to that. OHS have started to visit agricultural areas. We have set up a technical committee with NAREI and GRDB and all the people that are involved so that we can arrest the deaths that are occurring there,” Hamilton said.

Further, the minister said it is important that efforts are made to address these problems as they may arise. He committed to strengthening efforts for safety and protection of the workers here.

He also said that the oil and gas sector has not only provided employment for citizens but that businesses are being challenged to meet criteria in order to conduct business within the oil and gas sector.

US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch at the conference (Photo: Ministry of Labour/ April 25, 2023)

“Things that companies did not pay attention to they have to pay attention to or they will not be able to present the bidding documents. There is no doubt that efforts are being made to advance occupational safety and health systems in Guyana,” Hamilton said.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch noted that competition for employment is becoming tougher and that the safety of workers in the workplace is important to retain employees. She said that workers are aware of its importance and demand that workplaces meet these requirements.

“People are getting a lot smarter about that [workplace safety] and employees are demanding that work conditions are improved and safety standards are risen.

“Workers in Guyana now have options. Its competitive out there…you the employers are responding to that very issue and are investing in modern equipment and training and safer workspaces,” the Ambassador said.

The Ambassador also noted that she is proud that Guyanese firms have started incorporating international standards for their firms and suggested that these firms look to US businesses for the blueprint on workplace safety because it is her opinion that US businesses have the highest standards in this regard.

 

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