Report workplace accidents – Labour Minister urges

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Minister of Labour Dr. Nanda Gopaul
Minister of Labour Dr. Nanda Gopaul

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Labour, Dr. Nanda Gopaul called on employers and employees to report any accident that occurs on the work site, as mandated by the Occupational Health and Safety laws, while noting that very often accidents occur on the worksite and the relevant authorities are not notified.

Minister Gopaul was at the time delivering the feature address at a symposium, at the Regency Hotel, Hadfield Street, in observance of World Day for Occupational Safety and Health, observed under the theme “Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work”.

The event, which was held on Monday, April 28, saw representatives from the private sector, Government agencies and students participating. World Day for Occupational Safety and Health was launched in 2003 to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases worldwide.

“While many of the accidents are not being reported, they are happening, and we should be concerned. It is mandatory that all accidents that occur on the work site be reported to the ministry,” Minister Gopaul explained.

The Labour Minister stressed that Guyana is significantly advancing, with the construction of larger buildings that require elevators. However, he said that as the country advances, it is important that emphasis is paid on the construction sector.

“For too long we take things for granted, for too long we just think we could put on slippers and go on the construction site or to go in the sugar fields without observing the necessary rules and regulations,” Minister Gopaul noted.

To the employers, the Minister charged them to put the necessary safety equipment in place to prevent accidents, and ensure that they are covered by insurance. He also insisted that both employers and employees be educated about safety rules, and chemicals that are banned by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Representative of the Federation of Independent Trade unions of Guyana (FITUG), Seepaul Narine said that safety is everybody’s business, and even housewives using chemicals must be educated on health and occupational safety.

In Guyana, he said, some employers continue to take chances and cause harm to people and even death, while noting that employers must ensure that all chemicals used at work places are well labeled, and there must be records of those chemicals.

“I am appealing to employers to make the work place safe because no amount of compensation can replace a life,” Narine stressed. [GINA]

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