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Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Kern Spencer, has urged factory operators, workers and business interests to embrace all aspects of workplace safety and health.
Speaking today (September 18), at the launch of Health, Safety and Environment Week 2006, at Caribbean Cement Company Limited at Rockfort, Senator Spencer said that, “health, safety and environment are important factors to which each individual must give due consideration”.
“Raising health, safety and environmental awareness is of the utmost importance to us as a nation, as it enables each individual to perform at his optimal level, and to make the maximum contribution to growth and output, on and off the job,” the State Minister argued.
He stressed that these considerations be heightened in the workplace, where safety was critical, with so many individuals sharing a similar environment and interacting with various chemicals and other sensitive materials.
Speaking further, the State Minister highlighted the importance of thorough enforcement of safety procedure at all levels of management. “All employees, from top management right down must make it their personal duty to be aware of these issues that affect their health and safety at work, as well as beyond the work environment,” he said.
Furthermore, Senator Spencer said it was important to be educated at all levels about the various environmental factors and issues arising from work and personal activities.
Meanwhile, Operations Manager at Carib Cement Company Limited, Jindha Maharaj said that, “it is a well proven adage that, ‘a clean plant is a safe plant – is a productive plant’ “.
He said that 2006 would, in spite of its many challenges, go down as perhaps one of the company’s most successful years from an accident prevention standpoint, adding that the company was working towards ISO-14001, which would assist in an improvement of plant productivity.
Elaborating on plant safety and reviewing safety statistics at the cement company, General Manager, Anthony Haynes said management, in addition to providing personal protective equipment, “seriously investigate and analyze all accidents and incidents with a view to eliminating them in the future”.
Giving details of the company’s safety records over the last seven years, Mr. Haynes said safety at Carib Cement had improved.
“In 1999.there were 15 accidents in Carib Cement and that dropped to four last year and this year, we have run incident free,” he said. The theme of this year’s Health, Safety and Environment Week, which is hosted by Carib Cement Company is, ‘Raising Health Awareness to Enhance Safety’. The week will end on September 22.
Other activities scheduled for the week are, environmental safety training with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA); a simulation evacuation exercise, and fire response training.