Worker safety in manufacturing sector under focus

A national consultation on the safety of workers in the manufacturing sector is scheduled to end today with new recommendations.

GINA said that the Ministry of Social Protection in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) began a three-day national consultation on Tuesday, on the proposed draft regulations for Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) in the manufacturing sector.

The objective of this consultation is to have the input of stakeholders within the manufacturing sector, in the drafting of the regulations which are expected to boost the OSH Act of 1997.

Attending the consultations at Duke Lodge, Kingston, were Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence and Permanent Secretary, Lorene Baird; ILO’s Senior Specialist, Social Protection and Occupational Safety and Health, Ariel Pino; President of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTU), Norris Witter; General Secretary, Federation of Independent Trade Union of Guyana (FITUG), Samuel Joseph and Consultant, Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry (CAGI), Samuel Goolsarran.

Participants at the National Consultation on the proposed regulations for Occupational Health and Safety in the manufacturing sector (GINA photo)
Participants at the National Consultation on the proposed regulations for Occupational Health and Safety in the manufacturing sector (GINA photo)

GINA said that Baird explained that the full participation of stakeholders from the manufacturing industry is vital to the Ministry’s preparation of a robust document that will protect workers.

“…these regulations have been in the making for years and today’s activity is seeking to bring it closer to realisation. It will provide another level of protection for workers whose lives are often placed at risk in the manufacturing sector.

As health and safety professionals, you must be cognisant of these issues as you are aware of the risk associated with working in these environments,” Baird told the gathering.

She stressed the economic cost of workplace accidents and the impact on families when a provider is injured.

Lawrence said, according to GINA, that it was a big step to begin the process for the regulation of the manufacturing sector, and while Guyana may not have a thriving manufacturing sector, it was the government’s belief that the sector will expand and will become more vibrant.

ILO specialist, Pino spoke of the need to invest in the prevention of workplace accidents. According to GINA, Pino said that the presentation of the international regulations will be based on best practices  and what needs to be done from the Government side, as well as the employers and the workers. He said this is absolutely necessary as workers as well as the employers need to be protected.

“A healthy workforce will increase productivity and contribute to the long -term stability of business.

What we want to promote through the ILO instruments, regulations and code of practice is basically to foster a comprehensive approach to occupational safety and health, whether we have policies, whether we have systems in place, programmes, mid-term and long-term vision in terms of occupation safety and health,” Pino said.

In the past, workplace deaths have raised questions about the adequacy of steps taken by the Ministry of Social Protection and its predecessor, the Ministry of Labour, to investigate and ensure justice for the families of the deceased.


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