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KINGSTON — Occupational Health and Safety legislation, to protect the welfare of Jamaican employees in the workplace, is expected to come on stream shortly, says Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles.

"It will carry heavy sanctions for both workers and management who refuse to abide by the rules and standards laid out in these laws,” he said, at a press conference Friday (September 23) at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites in Kingston.

Mr. Charles said that while it is not possible for the Ministry to oversee every construction site and every factory, employers should adhere to the guidelines stipulated by law.

"What we do is, set the standards by law, and we visit these sites from time to time to make sure that the owners or managers are living up to the standards outlined by legislation,” he stated.

Mr. Charles said the Ministry continues to bemoan the fact that many injuries and deaths that have occurred at workplaces, are due to occupational accidents.

"We can’t have a man on a construction site, the contractor gives him a hard hat and a hard boot to wear on top of a building where he is doing steel fitting (and he’s not wearing them). Well, if the employer keeps him on the site, both of them will be charged because you are setting a bad example and going in the wrong direction,” he said.

He added that where reports have been made, the proper investigations will be undertaken to determine whether there was any health and safety breaches which led to death.

 

By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter