A decline has been recorded in the number of workplace accidents in Barbados.
This was revealed by Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she addressed the opening of a two-day Site Safety Certification Workshop, at the Warrens Office Complex yesterday.
The event was facilitated by the Barbados Contractors’ Association, in collaboration with the Labour Department.
Dr. Byer Suckoo stated: “In Barbados, between 2006 and 2017, the construction sector was ranked in the top five Industrial Divisions with the Most Accidents reported to the Labour Department. However, it has been observed that there has been a steady decline in the number of accidents reported. In 2006, 104 reports were received, accounting for 14 per cent of all accidents but in 2017, 32 were reported, representing approximately seven per cent of total reports.”
“In Barbados, between 2006 and 2017, the construction sector was ranked in the top five Industrial Divisions with the ‘Most Accidents’ reported to the Labour Department. However, it has been observed that there has been a steady decline in the number of accidents reported.”Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo
However, the Labour Minister noted that it was worth investigating whether the decline was due to improvements in safety practices, a reduction of activity in the sector or a lack of reporting.
Senator Byer Suckoo also indicated that the sector still had some work to do as it relates to compliance with the occupational safety and health legislation, as a number of concerns arose out of inspections carried out by the Labour Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Section in 2017.
“During the construction inspections it was noted that compliance with the requirements of the SHaW Act was mixed. The major concerns observed were inadequate provision of welfare facilities; issues related to improperly erected scaffolding; unsafe access to working platforms; inadequate provision and use of personal protective equipment; and inadequate control of dust generated as a result of construction activity,” she listed. She pointed out that all of the cases were speedily addressed following the intervention of the Labour Department.
This led to her reinforcing the point that it was the duty of employers and employees to be well versed on the various best practices and protocols for worksites and equipment use.
The Labour Minister also commended the Barbados Contractors’ Association for its efforts to raise awareness about safety and health among its membership and pledged her Ministry’s continued support.