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Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to have the proposed Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) tabled this legislative year.

Making his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 4, the Minister informed that the most recent draft of the legislation was received by the Ministry in January 2013, and was reviewed by the Attorney General’s Chambers, which necessitated further redrafts.

“After this process is complete, the Ministry’s intention is to table the Bill within this legislative year and I urge all my fellow members in this House to lend their support to its speedy passage at the appropriate time,” Mr. Kellier said.

Meanwhile, the Labour Minister said that the safety and health of all employees in the Jamaican workplace must be given priority, if the country is to achieve the high levels of productivity and performance necessary to put it on a path of sustained growth.

“Over the years, there have been various workplace incidences leading to injuries and fatalities which impacted negatively on both employers and employees. For example, recently there has been an upturn in the number of buildings found to contain asbestos in their structural materials. As such, the need for the long awaited Occupational Safety and Health legislation is again brought into sharp focus,” Mr. Kellier said.

The Bill will set the groundwork for the implementation of protection for all workers in all spheres of economic activities, and will comprehensively address all manifestations of occupational hazards.

It covers a broader range of considerations than the present Factories Act to protect workers on the job and define working conditions. It also establishes a joint Health and Safety Council that monitors the safety and well-being of workers.

Contact: Latonya Linton