Robust occupational health and safety program for 2021

–21 new OHS officers to be recruited by the Ministry of Labor, special attention for mining, construction

By Jared Liddell
AMID a growing local economy and an expanding labor market, the Ministry of Labor will look to implement a robust Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) program this year, according to subject Minister Joseph Hamilton.

Hamilton made this announcement during his remarks at the recent launch of OHS month 2021. Guyana observes Occupational Safety and Health Month under the theme: “Invest in OSH systems, take advantage of safety and healthy working environments in times of crisis.”
“We really need to focus more on good workplace safety and health practices, and promote the safety and health culture in Guyana. Therefore, investing in Occupational Safety and Health systems and the workplace is a necessity. It’s very important and can save lives, ”Hamilton reasoned.
The Ministry of Labor is currently in the process of hiring 21 new OHS officers, as part of efforts to ensure that all workers across Guyana have equitable access to more efficient services.

“We have to find the right people and bring them into the system. We do not have enough labor officers and that is why I have been making the point that we are trying to ensure that we can have at least two labor officers in each region and that is what we are working towards, and that is part o the commitments we have had with the Regional Democratic Councils, ”said Minister Hamilton.

The ministry, he said, also plans to locate OHS officials in Guyana’s Oil and Gas sector. Already, there are plans to deploy nine senior OHS officials in this area to ensure that the best OHS systems are employed in what is expected to be one of the largest sectors in the country.

Furthermore, Minister Hamilton said that specialist OHS officers will also be trained to deal directly with sectors such as forestry and construction.
Simply put, the ministry will roll out a comprehensive OHS-focused program across all major productive sectors in Guyana. Particular emphasis is placed on the mining and construction sectors due to the relatively high number of deaths recorded in 2020.

Multi-stakeholder forecasts will be maintained in mining communities in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine.
“The messages will be on accident prevention and adherence to COVID-19 protocols for the workplace. Therefore, there will be various inspections at construction sites to ensure compliance with the OSH Act, and OSH officials in this ministry will also be available to provide technical support to employers and trade unions, ”said Minister Hamilton.