The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) will join the rest of the world in observing World Day for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in the workplace, on Saturday, April 28.
Themed: ‘Promoting Safety and Health in a Green Economy’, the annual observance will focus international attention on the need to integrate safety and health in green job policies to reduce injuries and loss of lives.
Director of Occupational Safety and Health at the Ministry, Robert Chung, informed that there is a shift in the global community towards a greener and more sustainable economy where the technologies used may protect the environment, but not necessarily the worker.
“A truly green job must integrate safety and health into design, procurement, operations, maintenance, sourcing and recycling policies, certification systems and OSH quality standards,” he stated. This, he stressed, is especially relevant in sectors such as construction, waste recycling, solar energy production and biomass processing.
Mr. Chung pointed out that compared to other countries, “we in Jamaica try to focus on issues related to health and safety on the job, and try to create the kind of working environment, that prevents workers from being injured, while executing their duties”.
He added that the Ministry pays a lot of attention to death and injuries such as broken bones, strains, sprains and bronchial problems. Importantly, he said, bronchial illnesses are deemed chronic and linger overtime, and may cause severe health issues, affecting the level of productivity and impacting the worker’s ability to function effectively on a long-term basis.
Mr. Chung informed that the Ministry has been carrying out several promotions island-wide, to sensitise employees about health and safety issues, and also workplace inspections to ensure that organisations are compliant with the requirements or standards under the OSH law.
These initiatives are being enhanced in observance of OSH Day, through a slew of activities being executed in collaboration with the Jamaica Occupational Health Professionals Association (JOHPA), and the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona.
A national church service was held on Sunday (April 22) and a symposium on April 25 at UWI.
“These activities are geared towards educating the public about the programmes and legislation and other mechanisms that are in place, to ensure that workers in Jamaica enjoy a safe and healthy working environment,” Mr. Chung said.
OSH Day is an observance of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and has been marked in Jamaica since 1996.
By Jeneva Gordon, JIS PRO