Wed | Jun 26, 2019

Health and safety expert needed for CRH

Published:Monday | August 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris/Staff Reporter
Prof Ishenkumba Kahwa (left) says it's important deploy an occupational health and safety expert during and after the rehabilitation of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH). Kahwa and Prof Dr Archibald McDonald, members of the independent oversight committee for the rehabilitation project at CRH addressed the media recently., at the press briefing for the Cornwall Regional Hospital Rehabilitation Project on Thursday.

The search is now on for a full-time occupational health and safety (OHS) expert for the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH), which is currently undergoing a massive rehabilitation exercise after consistent reports of noxious fumes at the health facility resulted in the relocation of several services earlier this year.

Sancia Bennett-Templer, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, said that while there is someone on site to monitor occupational health and safety issues during the renovations, which are expected to be completed by August 2019, there is a need for a long-term professional in this area.

"We now want to bring in a dedicated person whose job now and going forward in the future will be an occupational health and safety specialist for the Cornwall Regional Hospital," she said during a recent press briefing at the Ministry of Health (MOH).

She said that the MOH is in the process of recruiting a suitable candidate for the job but noted that OHS is not a common discipline in Jamaica.

Occupational health and safety expert Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa of the University of the West Indies, Mona, stated that health and safety was an important component of the work taking place at the hospital since the problems were precipitated by fumes and other materials.

"Now that the main building has been closed, essentially, the biggest activity that needs to take place is to ensure that during the renovation, moisture is controlled so [none] is going into the structure," he said.

He said that such an individual was also needed to ensure that workers were observing safety protocols during the reconstruction phase.

Kahwa is one of the members of the independent oversight committee for the rehabilitation project at CRH that Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton established earlier this year.

nadine.wilson@gleanerjm.com