|Chief Labour Officer, Vincent Burnett (FP)|
Being able to deal with safety and health hazards quickly, in addition to conducting inspections in any workplace, are some of the new powers vested to Safety and Health Officers of the Labour Department under the Safety and Health at Work (SHaW) Act.?? It will be proclaimed on or before January 1, 2013.????
This was disclosed by Chief Labour Officer, Vincent Burnett, during a recent press conference staged to launch the Zero in to Safety: 100 Days to SHaW campaign which was held last Friday at the Amphitheatre, Warrens Office Complex.
Outlining aspects of the SHaW Act, which will replace the Factories Act, he noted: "… A greater proportion of the working population would be covered under this legislation- almost all employed persons, while the previous one was restricted to what is a factory defined operation."
He explained: "The Factories Act dealt specifically with factory defined operations and manufacturing processes which would [have been] considered factory processes. The SHaW Act deals with work in all areas of economic activity. So, therefore, the safety and health officers who would have previously been going into factories to carry out inspections would now be able to go to any work place to conduct inspections."
The Chief Labour Officer further pointed out that while the Factories Act stipulated that it was mandatory for factories with 50 or more workers to have a safety committee, the SHaW Act made provisions for 25 or more employees.
He admitted that while the Labour Department would need to increase its human resources capacity to efficiently carry out the mandates of the new legislation, Mr. Burnett maintained: "[Under the SHaW Act] places that were not previously covered would now be covered. There are a number of people who would now have access to the Labour Department who would not have had it before, because they were not working in a factory-defined operation.?? That is important."??