Social Protection Ministry holds Chemical Safety Consultation
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, November 16, 2017
The Labour, Occupational Safety and Health Department of the Ministry of Social Protection today convened a national consultation on the safe use of chemicals in the workplace.
The aim of the one-day consultation held at the Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown was to gain consensus on regulations on the safe use of chemicals, which should be used under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
It is hoped that upon completion of the meeting, the Ministry would be steps closer to having the outline prepared for the drafting section of the Attorney General’s chambers.
Occupational Safety and Health Manager of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Earl Morris said chemicals are used in virtually all work activities and therefore, the risks are inevitable.
“This consultation is aimed to address that shortfall, so that we here, at the end of this process, will be able to develop a systematic approach to safety in the workplace.”
He said in Guyana a number of chemicals are used in substantial quantity and that many other chemicals will be introduced from time to time. While some workplaces have already developed guidelines on the safe use of chemicals, there are others that are yet to move in that direction.
According to him, the consultation is providing that opportunity as well as fulfilling a key aspect of the Safety and Health Act.
Ministry of Social Protection’s Industrial Relations Consultant Francis Carryl said while the Occupational Safety and Health Act has proven to be effective, it can see a little more strengthening for the benefit of workers, employers and the nation as a whole.
“The international labour organization reminds us that while within the context of development, chemicals can be very useful, it is necessary to ensure that steps are taken to prevent and control the potential risks for workers, workplaces, communities and the environment.”
He said any legislation, regulation or policy impacting safety in the use of chemicals in the workplace must be dynamic. According to Carryl, it is therefore important that any regulations developed are capable of yielding results that will not contravene the human development agenda.
By: Alexis Rodney
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