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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Labour and Social Security will be using the $1.3 billion student housing expansion project, now underway at the University of the West Indies (UWI), to test its Worker Safety Passport programme.
  • Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, and Managing Director of construction firm, Prime Development Limited, Michael Todd, signed an agreement for the pilot project, during a ceremony on Tuesday, April 28, on the Mona campus.
  • The signing coincided with activities to mark World Occupational Safety and Health Day, under the theme: ‘Join in Building a Culture of Prevention on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)’.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security will be using the $1.3 billion student housing expansion project, now underway at the University of the West Indies (UWI), to test its Worker Safety Passport programme.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, and Managing Director of construction firm, Prime Development Limited, Michael Todd, signed an agreement for the pilot project, during a ceremony on Tuesday, April 28, on the Mona campus.

The signing coincided with activities to mark World Occupational Safety and Health Day, under the theme: ‘Join in Building a Culture of Prevention on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)’.

The first three passports were issued to Prime Development Limited employees: Atavia Anglin, Jamoy Daley, and Garth Palmer.

The worker safety passport is a Ministry of Labour innovation, which will target construction workers during its initial phase of implementation.

It provides specifications on the holder’s competence in occupational safety and health procedures. Persons are required to undergo five hours of training administered by the Ministry for certification.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Kellier thanked Prime Development Limited for accepting the Ministry’s invitation to be a partner in the pilot project.

He said the initiative is intended to expose all construction workers to a five-hour training programme and subsequent certification, in order to reduce accidents at construction sites and ensure a safer work environment.

“The Ministry expects that when this system comes fully on stream, no worker will be admitted to a worksite unless he/she carries this passport for certification, which will be the only guarantee that the workers are competent and equipped to operate safely on construction sites,” he said.

“So…I urge all productive Jamaicans, whether employers or employees, to gain knowledge about prevention (of mishaps) in the working environment,” he added.

In his remarks, Mr. Todd said his company is “very proud” to be a part of the programme.

“Occupational safety and health is something that we promote at our company, and to be invited by the Ministry to participate in this project is an honour. We will do our best to support and ensure that our workers meet all the requirements that the Ministry puts in place, and we will support them as we proceed on all our jobs in the future,” he said.

UWI Vice Principal, Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa, saluted the Ministry on its initiative to enhance occupational safety and health in the work environment.

“I believe that Jamaica is, once again, seizing the opportunity to move one step ahead in achieving global standards by introducing workplace monitoring systems that will not only encourage greater productivity, but also protect the health and well-being of our hard-working employees,” he said.

Representatives from the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica (IMAJ); Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF); and Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), who were at the ceremony, also endorsed the Ministry’s worker passport programme.

The housing development at UWI will provide 1,580 additional rooms for students over the next three years.

Minister Kellier said the expansion at the Melia Braco Village in Trelawny, which officially got underway last Friday, April 24, will also be a part of the Worker Safety Passport pilot.