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  • Agriculture, Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says significant groundwork has been completed towards legislating the proposed Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).
  • The Bill is expected to be approved in Parliament by the end of the 2015/16 fiscal year.
  • Mr. Kellier stressed that the OSHA will be a “modern piece of legislation” that cuts across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and will be a “massive” change from the existing Factories Act, which was enacted in 1943.

Agriculture, Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says significant groundwork has been completed towards legislating the proposed Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

The Bill is expected to be approved in Parliament by the end of the 2015/16 fiscal year.

Passage is pivotal in the administration’s move to streamline laws, protocols, and regulations governing occupational health and safety in the workplace, particularly where such provisions are non-existent.

Addressing a ceremony at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, on April 28, to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work, Mr. Kellier advised that based on feedbacks and inputs from stakeholder consultations, the provisions have been updated, and “it (only remains) for some final comments to be made in-house,” before the final preparatory work is done before the Bill is tabled in Parliament.

Mr. Kellier said the Ministry is working “assiduously” to ensure that the Bill is taken through the remaining preparatory phases before tabling.

These, he outlined, include its submission to the Attorney-General (AG) Chambers, and the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (CPC) for their perusal and review, and to Cabinet’s Legislation Committee, prior to its approval for tabling.

Mr. Kellier said OSHA’s enactment will result in “sweeping” changes, not only in the number of workplaces which will fall under the law, “but in the practices which must be enforced and monitored.”

In this regard, he advised that the Government, through the Ministry, will be using the period during which final preparation of the Bill will be undertaken, to heighten public awareness and knowledge about hazards and risks at the workplace, and measures for prevention and control.

“The public education campaign has been ongoing to ensure that persons and organizations are on board, with regard to the implementation of safety and health operations in their businesses, so that when the Act is promulgated, it won’t be deemed as something new,” the Minister said.

Mr. Kellier stressed that the OSHA will be a “modern piece of legislation” that cuts across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and will be a “massive” change from the existing Factories Act, which was enacted in 1943.

The ceremony was preceded by a tour of additional living quarters currently being constructed at the UWI’s Mona Campus for students by Mr. Kellier and other Ministry officers, to observe safety measures in place there.

Some 1,550 rooms are being constructed by the entity – 138 Student Living Limited – at a cost of $1.3 billion for delivery over the next three years.

The projected is being executed by the firm, Prime Development Limited.