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LETTER OF THE DAY - Occupational safety should be priority

Published:Wednesday | January 23, 2013 | 12:00 AM


I welcome Garth Rattray's column 'Why the hold-up in workforce safety?' (Gleaner, January 21, 2013).

Occupational safety is a matter which doesn't seem to be given priority in Jamaica, except when it comes to being insured. Even the basic assessment of individual risk is not a way of life. If it means that we need to be retaught, it will have to be done.

There have been so many work-related accidents, with some being fatal, and yet the adoption of the occupation Safety & Health Administration Act is not forthcoming. You may find that in training institutions, students are introduced to same, but there is limited or no practice in the workplace.

If the Jamaica Employers' Federation has no desire to advocate for such - although it would be in its members' best interest - it is the duty of unions and employees. One would have also thought that this would have been a priority of the labour ministry.

In retrospect, how many organisations, on hiring, include safety rules on orientation? How many of these industrial institutions have a safety handbook available to all employees? How many of these workers know that safety practices go beyond a hard hat and hard boots? Most times it is the workers' union which passes on safety information to employees.

There is so much to know about safety and safety practices which could result in a reduction of the financial burden on all, our employers and health system included.