Social Protection Ministry a part of joint committee addressing mercury related concerns in GGMC compound

Ministry of Social Protection, June 13, 2018 – The Ministry of Social Protection continues to work as part of a joint committee addressing safety and health issues in relation to mercury concerns at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission.  The inter–agency team is comprised of the department of Occupational Safety and Health – Ministry of Social Protection, The National Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH), the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and staff representing the interest of the workers of the GGMC.

In addition to a rigid investigation, the team has been working on measures and methods of addressing concerns about the environment to ensure that action is taken and the requisite systems are put in place to protect the safety and health of workers who were exposed to mercury emissions within that area. At a recent meeting the team focused on the ongoing air quality sampling which is presently being undertaken and the next steps forward.

Government recently announced that it will be getting international assistance from an expert group expected to undertake a number of critical assignments, including ascertaining the safety of the environment and making recommendations on best practices. The group will also undertake data analyses and provide the Government with periodic updates to chart the way forward.

The Central Board of Health is also expected to begin working closely with GGMC and other stakeholders including the wider mining sector on programmes to provide life-protecting strategies against mercury exposure.

The Occupational Safety and Health Department – Ministry of Social Protection, is tasked with monitoring, encouraging and enforcing the practice of improved standards of Safety and Health at work and has been doing several public awareness campaigns, capacity building workshops and recently launched safety booklets for various sectors, this is in addition to regular inspections and other  administrative duties.