Work place deaths on decline, more still to be done – Labour Minister

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton has noted that Guyana continues to see a decrease in the number of work place related deaths in recent years.

Minister Hamilton, who was addressing persons at an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Walk in Linden, Region 10, on Friday noted that while this commendable, the figure is still too high.

In 2020, 32 persons lost their lives in workplace accidents, 27 in 2021 and 21 in 2022.

“A death in the workplace is not a statistic…it is somebody’s father, somebody’s son, somebody’s brother, some woman’s child and importantly when the breadwinner dies, he might leave five or six children for a woman to take care of, so this is not a matter that we can brush aside,” Minister Hamilton pointed out.

The ministry, he said continues to raise awareness on the importance of OSH and is looking at extending its reach to other categories of workers, including minibus drivers and conductors.

“This conversation, we have to take it beyond workplaces, we have to do a campaign that speaks also about where we live, our residence.

“We are making progress in agriculture, we have now intervened there because in my view, I believe more people might be dying in the agriculture belt but they die slowly, and therefore we are intervening in every activity where people work.”

The labour minister also noted that all workplaces, once they employ more than 19 persons, are required by law to have a health and safety committee.

The ministry’s OSH department will continue to work with companies to provide in several areas including the establishment of the committees.

“When I speak about health and safety, I’m talking about every place, every place where people work, they must know that they will go there and they will go back to their family and so we will continue to work with all regions, all public sector and private sector, entities,” Minister Hamilton reassured.