Several companies awarded for promoting workplace safety

GINA, GUYANA, Friday, April 28, 2017

Several companies were today, awarded by the National Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH), for ensuring that their employees are working in an environment free from hazards and risks.

The award ceremony was undertaken at the Herdmanston Lodge in the presence of Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, Vice- Chairperson, NACOSH, Patricia Woolford and President, Guyana Teachers’ Union, Coretta Mc Donald among other invitees and company representatives.

Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally delivering remarks at the National Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health awards ceremony

Minister Ally explained that the safety and health of all workers in every sector of Guyana is of a high priority to the government. She said the awards ceremony was created to encourage individuals and organisations to establish effective systems for managing occupational safety and health, and to inculcate a culture of prevention in the daily duties of workers and employers in order to sustain safe practices for the future.

“While new challenges and emerging new risks will arise, I urge you to continuously adjust your Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) system and standards to keep on par with current developments and new regulations and policy guidelines, so that you may better guarantee a conducive and sustainable working environment,” Minister Ally underlined.

The national OSH work place award is the highest accolade given to those that lead the way in preventing accidents, and ensuring that workers are kept safe and healthy.

Minister Ally reaffirmed government’s commitment towards promoting the protection of workers’ safety and health.  She pointed out that as part of ongoing efforts to promote OSH, numerous activities continue including OSH walks in Regions Two, Three, Four, Six, Seven and Ten.

Meanwhile, OSH Advisor at the Ministry of Social Protection, Gwenneth King, in providing a brief history of the award ceremony, highlighted that it was first launched in 1996 to recognise and reward individuals, then workplaces for their contribution to the development of OSH in Guyana. She added that from 1996 to 2000, 15 individuals and five workplaces received awards.

Guyana Teachers Union President, Coretta Mc Donald presenting an award to a representative from Demerara Distillers Limited

However, the award programme was suspended at the end of 2000 pending a review. “While deliberating the best method of addressing the issue, we got a copy of the British Safety Council Award Scheme, and with some modification we were able to introduce the requisite programme. In 2003 the award resumed; there were lapses, but it was reintroduced this year again,” King stated.

The various categories of the award are the work place, joint workplace safety and health committee, individual and special awards.  The first three are for individuals and groups within the workplace, and the final one is for persons, NGOS and educational institutions that contribute to the development of OSH in Guyana, King said.

Vice- Chairperson, NACOSH, Patricia Woolford said the objective of the awards is to encourage all companies to lift their environmental standards, and improve the conditions under which people work and serve.

Woolford added that today, NACOSH is embarking on a plan of action t0 sensitise the nation on all matters of OSH, paying attention to the mining sector, construction and other areas where accidents and occur.

“Currently we are in the process of ratifying the national policy on Occupational Safety and Health, which, when approved and implemented, will see substantial advances in OSH….as we take into consideration the need for persons with disabilities and youths among others,” Woolford pointed out.

GTU’s President, Coretta Mc Donald lauded the event noting that this is the right direction to promote the health and safety of employees.

Demerara Distillers Limited, Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC), Massay Gas Product Guyana Limited, National Milling Company of Guyana Incorporated and Linden Hospital Complex are among those that benefitted from work place awards.

By: Ranetta La Fleur

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