Last updated Sunday, 4 April 2021, 8:14 by Denis Chabrol
Labor Minister Joseph Hamilton said the inspection of offshore oil production and exploration facilities could begin by the end of the year after specialist training is carried out by Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) inspectors and new related laws are passed.
“What will guide me is the lifespan of the training. I would say by the end of the year, we should be in a position to get officers to go out and conduct offshore inspections, ”he said in an exclusive interview with Radio Guyana’s News-Talk 103.1 FM / Demerara Waves Online News.
Mr Hamilton said officials are currently examining the costs to train superintendents about safety specifically in the hydrocarbon sector. “We look at the dollars and cents that matter because we have several offers from different places,” he said. The Labor Minister said the arrangements and decision on whether to access training from Mexican or Trinidadian companies would decide that they would be done within a month.
He said ExxonMobil, the American-Guyana Chamber of Commerce and other industry stakeholders were involved in overhauling Guyana’s OSH legislation and eventually the draft laws would be published and stakeholders would be hired. He hoped that the consultation process would be completed in time for the Bills to be introduced in the National Assembly before the third quarter (July-September).
“We have to do in OSH special legislation for the Oil and Gas industry. That’s my instruction from the highest authority that we have to be the main place in developing the necessary legislation, ”he said, adding that the International Labor Organization (ILO) is ready to provide support.
Following those consultations and feedback, he said that the drafts would be sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers and ultimately to Cabinet for approval before they were presented to the National Assembly for Wales. eventually passed and consented.
Guyana’s Secretary of the Bauxite and General Workers Union (GBGWU), Lincoln Lewis, responding to the Labor Minister’s announcements that the gradual enforcement of existing and new OSH laws, said it was too early to come ‘ r the conclusion that the pronunciations are purely rhetoric. “I would want to give him a chance and see the results of what he has said,” Mr Lewis told Radio Guyana News-Talk 103.1 FM / Demerara Waves Online News.
He welcomed Mr. Lewis plans the Ministry of Labor to strengthen and enforce OSH laws, saying the labor movement has been pushing for such action over the years. “These are things that are necessary. We’ve been advocating for those things. We have been arguing that, even in the new economy where you have oil and gas, our legislative agenda has to cover those areas and that it must be supported by the necessary support services, ” he said.
Since then the Ministry of Labor has taken steps to increase the number of OSH inspectors from nine to 21 to police the entire country. Plans are also being introduced to decentralize OSH operations by opening offices in the regions.