Gov't Signals Commitment to Occupational Health and Safety

Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson, says the tabling of the long-awaited Occupational Safety and Health Bill in Parliament is a signal of the Government’s commitment to making Jamaica the place of choice to do business.

She said it also indicates that the Administration is taking the necessary steps to secure the future for the next generation.

Mrs. Robinson, who was making her contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (April 26), described the OSH Bill as a “groundbreaking” piece of legislation that is expected to provide a comprehensive framework for the protection and promotion of workplace health and safety.

“The Bill seeks to ensure that every worker enjoys safe and decent working conditions irrespective of the nature of their employment relationship. It seeks to prevent injury and illness caused by conditions at the workplace,” she pointed out.

The Minister encouraged workers and employers to comply with the stipulations of the legislation when enacted.

She thanked all stakeholders, who contributed to the legislation’s development. These include Ministries, Departments and Agencies; past portfolio Ministers; current and former parliamentarians; international partners; and members of civil society.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Robinson advised the House that the Ministry’s Occupational Safety and Health Department completed 2,507 inspections of workplaces during 2016/17.

These, she said included factories, building operations, engineering/construction sites, cargo ships and docks.

This, the Minister said, was an increase over 2015/16, adding that it was due mainly to the special emphasis placed on the frequent monitoring of high-risk factories as well as construction projects.

“I must emphasise that one fatal accident is one too many. I, therefore, urge all to do their utmost best in ensuring that they manage hazards and risks effectively to ensure safety and health at work. We must secure our work environment now to guarantee workplace safety, wellness and well-being for future generations,” Mrs. Robinson underscored.

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