Workplace deaths significantly reduced – Labour Minister
The Ministry of Labour has recorded a reduction in the number of workplace deaths by more than half since 2020e.
Minister, Joseph Hamilton, M.P, on Thursday said this is as a result of his ministry’s proactive approach to Occupational Safety and Health (OSH).
He was at time addressing a graduation ceremony for OSH Officers, wh0 completed training in an International Certificate in Mine Safety Operations programme.
“With the work you have done and are doing to reduce deaths in workplaces by 16 percent, when I came here it was 32 for that year. Last year it was 27 percent, it is not good enough, but what I’m saying to you is that the work you have already started doing, is already paying dividends, because in the first full year, you have reduced deaths in workplaces by seven persons,16 percent.”
Since taking up his position, Minister Hamilton has been on a mission to empower OSH officials to execute their work effectively.
“I have the authority to ensure that every occupational safety and health officer that works in this ministry, they are properly trained at the highest technical, international standard to do this work.”
“These officers have to be empowered, they have to be respected, they have to be able to utilise the authority vested in them by the laws of Guyana. If we are not doing that, we are wasting time, and I have said to them I will represent their case every place, I will defend their work.”
He said no one is exempted from the labour laws, noting that the same way officers go after private agencies, they must approach public agencies about breaches.
Participants for the training were selected from several agencies including the Guyana Fire Service, AGM Inc., Ministry of Education and Sinohydro Inc.
Participant, Darwin Bourne, who is currently investigating the death of a miner, noted that mining fatalities is a sore issue, and tact is needed for these investigations.
“Our purpose here is to save lives, and we can’t be bullies and we can’t be a coward in relation to the act. If we see something, we got to correct these people …we got to stop them from mining for a particular period. Enforcement with mining is a unique aspect because the hazards that are associated with mining is totally unique to any other industry,” Bourne said.
“As an officer the knowledge surpasses it. This training taught you even more than what you need to do, how you need to up your game as an officer and wherever we go we should always say to persons or employers that no job is too urgent, no task is so that we do not take time to ensure that it is being executed in a safe manner,” Leon Daniels, another Officer said.