In T&T: 102 fatal accidents at work over decade

(Trinidad Guardian) For the period 2006 to 2015 there were 102 fatal accidents which occurred in the workplace and the construction industry was cited as having the highest number of fatalities as it recorded 33 fatal accidents for that period.

Saying that one death in the workplace was one too many, president of the Industrial Court Deborah Thomas-Felix, in delivering her remarks at the court’s opening on Monday, expressed concern that 102 workplace deaths occurred over nine years.

President of the Law Association Reginald Armour, left, greets Industrial Court president Deborah Thomas-Felix during the opening of the Industrial Court
President of the Law Association Reginald Armour, left, greets Industrial Court president Deborah Thomas-Felix during the opening of the Industrial Court

Mental, emotional and psychological stress in the workplace, she added, also contributed to a poor work environment.

The sector with the highest number of non-fatal accidents was the manufacturing sector with the lowest figure at 249 in 2014 and the highest 555 in 2008.

“These accidents and incidents in my view are to a large measure due to failures and deficiency in the policy and management of occupational health and safety in several businesses in this country,” Thomas-Felix said.

She said as a nation the concept of increased productivity and increased economic activity cannot be promoted without simultaneously insisting on effective policies for occupational safety and health in all business enterprises.

“Moreover, we cannot turn a blind eye to the growing number of diseases which have been debilitating and devastating to our citizens,” Thomas-Felix added.

She urged that it was the duty of each employer whether in the public or private sector to provide a safe and healthy environment for workers and to develop and promote a culture which supported health and safety at work.

“I urge employers in both public and private sectors to adopt and promote proper health and safety policies and programmes at work. I also strongly recommend that they create awareness among their workers of the various dimensions and short-term and long-term consequences of related accidents, injuries and diseases and place the health and safety of all workers as a priority,” Thomas-Felix said.

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