The Ministry of Labour has said that regulations are in the making to address the use of chemicals at work, as well as to regulate conditions of work in mining, forestry, and the manufacturing sectors.
“It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure proper storage and handling of all chemicals by trained persons and employers are obligated to wear the appropriate safety gear and equipment when handling chemicals to minimize the number of accidents, altogether eliminate the fatalities due to industrial accidents,” the ministry said in a press release. The ministry will be observing World Day for Safety and Health on April 28, under the theme ‘Safety and Health in the Use of Chemicals at Work.’
Employers and trade unions are obligated to ensure that appropriate health and safety measures are in place at workplaces, and that employees are trained in safety practices the ministry said, adding that employers can seek its guidance in implementing safety measures. The ministry also noted that safety practices alone do not suffice as personal responsibility is critical to giving weight to the training received.
In addition to drafting regulations to address the use of chemicals at work, the ministry noted that regulations to address HIV/AIDS have already been tabled in the National Assembly. These will ensure penalties under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, but the ministry prefers to work with employers and employees to correct defects rather than penalize persons and companies.
As such the ministry is appealing to all stakeholders to make a concerted effort to improve and prioritise safety and health at work.
As part of this year’s observances, on Sunday, April 27 the ministry will host a ‘health walk’ for the public, and a fair on April 29 at the 704 Food Court Parking Lot at Albert and Lamaha streets. The assembly point for the health walk is at Parade Ground at 6.30 am. Regional fairs will also be held in Linden, Berbice and Bartica on April 23, 25 and 30 respectively.