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Key persons in the Ministry of Social Security met yesterday (Feb. 2) at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel to develop a list of hazardous occupations prohibited to children and adolescents under the age of 18.
Under the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Convention No.182, each member state is required to host consultations to identify where hazardous work exist. The aim is to ensure that the health, safety and morals of children are fully protected in the workplace and that they have received adequate, specific instructions.
Leslie Bowrin, regional manager for the ILO/Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Regional Child Labour Project, informed that some very practical steps, which countries like Jamaica could take in implementing Convention No. 182 are to: identify which were the worst forms of child labour and how prevalent they were; determine what constituted “hazardous work”; review current legislation to determine if existing laws conformed to the provisions of the Convention; create a national structure for the purpose of following through with the Convention’s implementation; and develop a national plan of action.
“The project continues to work with stakeholders on the development of capacity to follow through on implementation of the child labour conventions. It is to this task that this workshop is devoted,” he said.
A goal of the workshop, Mr. Bowrin said, was to provide key stakeholders with the relevant knowledge and insight to contribute to the fight against the worst forms of child labour.
Meanwhile, Gresford Smith advisor to Labour and Social Security Minister Horace Dalley, informed that awareness campaigns would have to be planned among the stakeholders to reinforce the negative social and economic consequences of child labour and to commit to a programme of action, which would effectively abolish child labour and promote the benefits to national development.
“More importantly, we have the task of ensuring that the occupations, which we have identified as hazardous are so listed and recognized through national laws and regulations,” he said.
According to Mr. Smith, protecting children from the risks of hazardous occupations was one of several programmes and policies, which form part of a wider philosophical mandate to secure the development agenda through decent work and international labour standards.
He noted that compiling the list of hazardous work would entail identifying the likely hazards in each economic sector, the effects that these hazards were likely to have on children and the locations where hazards tended to occur.