Given the high potential for hazards in the construction sector, Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, is imploring stakeholders to be more proactive when it comes to safety and health on the job.
She was addressing the opening of a two-day Site Safety Certification Workshop, facilitated by the Barbados Contractors’ Association in collaboration with the Labour Department, yesterday, at the Warrens Office Complex.
Noting the risk of on-the-job accidents is high within that sector, which is a major source of employment, Senator Byer Suckoo cautioned that safety should not be treated as “an afterthought” and “must be integrated in the planning stages of every project from inception”.
She further warned that unsafe work practices could negatively impact the finances of the employer and the National Insurance Scheme. However, the Labour Minister said this was minute when compared to the impact on the victim, who may be temporarily or permanently disabled.
“There is the physical and mental suffering, as well as the loss of income and incurred medical expenses for doctors, medication, therapy and assistive devices,” she stated.
It is against this background the Labour Minister appealed to employers to educate themselves and adhere to the guidelines set out in the Safety and Health at Work (SHaW) Act, which requires that an employer assesses the risks before the start of any job and institute preventative measures.
Senator Byer Suckoo further urged them to consider implementing the A Commitment To Improving Our Nation (ACTION) Programme, developed by the Labour Department, to encourage companies to adopt safety and health practices.