St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Ministry of Labour is prioritizing the matter of health and safety in the workplace, according to Permanent Secretary Ron Colins.

He says the Labour Department has developed a nine-point strategic plan in its efforts to address health and safety concerns in the work environment.

“Health and safety will not come about by us waving a magic wand, it requires workers to be equipped to change the way things are done at the workplace and employers to ensure that workers safety and health is paramount. In keeping with the ILO’s goal 8 of promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all, the department of labour has developed a nine point strategic plan for 2017. Government has also employed a statistical officer for the department and plans are in place to increase the number of labour inspectors. This is in keeping with the department’s fourth and fifth priority of enhancing the statistical output and the increasing labour inspections they conduct per year.”

Permanent Secretary Colins says the private sector along with Social Security have been assisting in promoting safe and free from danger practices at work.

“Their contribution to safety and health awareness reflects their willingness in working within the spirit of tri-partism and social dialogue to ensure that our workplaces are not only peaceful and harmonious but safe and healthy for all. The labour department will continue to work with stakeholders to improve safety measures and to step up promotion and education efforts with the aim of enhancing the occupational safety and health of our work spaces. We therefore appeal to all employers and employees alike, to always stay alert to work in safety and strictly adopting safety measures so as to avoid endangering their own safety and that of others.”

Employers are being urged to provide safe working platforms and appropriate personal protective equipment to their workers.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour Colins, who has headed the country’s Teachers’ Union, was delivering an address in keeping with World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which was observed on Friday.

United Nations statistics points to 6,300 people dying every day as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases.

The annual figure is said to be more than 2.3 million.

The UN says 313 million accidents occur on the job annually, with many of these resulting in extended absences from work. 


Ken Richards
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