GPL reviewing contractors after undocumented worker burnt

All contracting firms responsible for carrying out works for Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. are to be reassessed and re-evaluated to ensure their compliance with their contractual obligations, in wake of the severe injuries sustained by a man who was used by a contractor without clearance from the company.

Parsram Persaud, the company’s Manager of Metering, was unable to say exactly how many firms are under contract with GPL to carry out various works since there are several different divisions and departments which work with contractors. As head of the metering department, however, he was able to say that 28 contracting teams help to carry out the department. All of these contractors, he said, including those in fear-reaching areas, are to be screened simultaneously and the company says it hopes to complete the process in approximately three weeks.

The decision comes in the wake the hospitalisation of 29-year-old Rayon Henry, of Lot ‘N’ Bent Street, who sustained severe electrical burns after he came into contact with high-voltage wires while installing a pre-paid meter on the East Bank of Essequibo.

Parsram said that the company is currently conducting an investigation into the incident but stated that they have already established that the man was not a GPL employee nor was he a documented employee of the contractor for which he was working.  He said that GPL requires each of the contracting firms with which it works to provide it with the information of all of the agents they employ. He said that GPL then screens each agent, checking for relevant past working experience, training and education, and also to see if the individual has a criminal background.

Parsram said that only after satisfying these and other criteria are contracted agents issued an identification card from the company and allowed to do work on its behalf. Henry, however, was never cleared by the contractor for which he worked. Parsram said that this amounts to a violation of the contractual agreements between GPL and the contractor and he said that the company has suspended works to be done by the contractor on its behalf pending the results of the investigation.

In an effort to ensure that such dishonesty is not being practiced by any of the other contracting firms doing work for the company, GPL will be reassessing all of the contractors with which it works to ensure that all of their agents have been screened and cleared to work on their behalf.

The re-assessment will also seek to determine if contractors are providing the necessary safety equipment, needed by their employees to carry out their duties.

The company noted that Henry was not in receipt of adequate safety equipment as he was installing the meter and it is believed that he may not have suffered such intense burns had he been provided with the gear.

Parsram also said that the company will be calling on consumers to ask all persons claiming to be working on the company’s behalf to produce their identification cards, which can only be issued by the company itself, before they are allowed to commence whatever it is they will be doing.

He said that this will be a precaution against contractors who may insist on cheating the system.

Since being admitted to the Georgetown Hospital, Henry has suffered two amputations to his left arm after the limb became swollen and infected. He is now said to be stable at the High Dependency Unit (HDU) of the hospital.

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