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  • Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, says passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) this fiscal year remains high on the Ministry’s agenda.
  • The Minister said the definition of a workplace under OSHA will move it beyond a physical structure to include a vehicle, vessel, aircraft or other mobile structures.
  • Mrs. Robinson added that if roadways are to be considered workplaces, proper care should be taken to minimise road accidents.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, says passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) this fiscal year remains high on the Ministry’s agenda.

“We can all agree that this legislation has been in gestation for a long period, but our tripartite partners and other stakeholders are satisfied that when this Act is passed, it will address most of the current safety and health issues of Jamaica and be flexible enough to integrate others as they arise,” she said.

Mrs. Robinson was addressing the sixth annual ‘On the Road, On the Job’ International Safety Workshop on November 2, at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.

The event was organised by Grennell’s Driving School, in association with the National Safety Council out of the USA. It was held under the theme ‘Building Safer Workplaces’.

The Minister said the definition of a workplace under OSHA will move it beyond a physical structure to include a vehicle, vessel, aircraft or other mobile structures.

“While many Jamaicans view the roadway as simply a thoroughfare between destinations, thankfully, the proposed Occupational Safety and Health regime will treat our roadways as workplaces, which will be especially relevant to persons who operate motor vehicles as part of carrying out their work-related duties,” she informed.

Mrs. Robinson added that if roadways are to be considered workplaces, proper care should be taken to minimise road accidents.

Some precautionary measures, she outlined, include avoiding working long hours; proper training to operate assigned vehicle; and refraining from the use of mobile phones and other devices that cause distraction.

Meanwhile, Director of Public Relations and Communication at the Ministry of Transport and Mining, Vando Palmer, who brought greetings on behalf of Minister Mike Henry, lamented the number of persons who have died as a result of road crashes since the start of the year.

“As at November 1, 321 persons have been killed in 269 fatal crashes and while fatal crashes have decreased by nine per cent, fatalities have increased by one per cent when compared with a similar period last year,” he shared.

Mr. Palmer said that the crashes and resultant deaths have cost the country a significant amount of money.

“By March 2017, [we will] develop the requisite road safety expertise that will allow us to know the socio-economic cost of road crashes. Already, we have made the necessary connections to having this become a reality,” he informed.

For his part, Managing Director of Grennell’s Driving School, Alphonso Grennell, said the annual workshop is aimed at forging sustainable partnerships between stakeholders to implement best practices to ensure a high level of safety at work – on the road.