Permit me to respond to a letter in your Wednesday’s edition of the Stabroek News titled `Authorities need to do more about workplace accidents’ by Mr. Elton McRae. First let me applaud Mr. Mc Rae for expressing his concerns on Occupational Safety and Health in the workplace and adding his voice to the drive to make safety and health a priority in the world of work. While the letter writer emphasizes the observance of Occupational Safety and Health month which is observed worldwide in April, and Occupational Safety and Health Day on the 28th, we must not forget that every day must be seen as occupational safety and health day.
In his first paragraph, the letter writer mentions two accidents that occurred one week prior to occupational safety and health day, one at the MCG mall that resulted in the death of a worker.
As the Occupational Safety and Health Consultant for this company I wish to assure Mr. Mc Rae that all relevant measures are taken at this site for the safety and health of employees.
Some of these measures are job safety analysis (JSA) for every task undertaken by the workers, hazard analysis on the task, and the provision of personal protective equipment of an approved standard and follow up training on the use, care and maintenance of their personal protective equipment (PPE). No employee is allowed to enter the worksite without their PPE. This includes ALL personnel from the CEO to the labourer.
All employees are exposed to orientation training on the potential hazards associated with their task when employed at MCG Mall. Periodic training and daily inspections are conducted by the contracting occupational safety and health company Optimum Safety Solutions. These training and inspections are done using the Occupational Safety and Health Authority construction guidelines and checklist and supervisor’s safety work checklist on construction regulations 29 CFR OSHA 1926 of the United States of America in the absence of construction regulations for Guyana.
While accidents are preventable, it must be stressed that any single accident is a result of as much as 10 factors which contribute to the accident. An accident is a result of 3% of unsafe conditions and 95% of unsafe behaviours. Hence, the emphasis on education and training at the MCG Mall. As regards the accident, I wish to assure that all necessary obligations were complied with in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act 32 of 1997 Laws of Guyana. Immediately thereafter an accident investigation was conducted to determine the root and surface cause of the accident by the consulting company Optimum Safety Solutions to put in place measurers to prevent a reoccurrence.
Finally, I wish to state that it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure a safe and health work environment. Sections 46 thru 49 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 32 of 1997 clearly state the roles and responsibility of Employer, Supervisors and Employees. The Ministry of Labour is doing its best to address the issues of unsafe work places, but the Trade Unions, and Private Sector need to come on board and make safety and health a priority. We all must be involved.
and Health Consultant
for MCG Investments