The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) has established a sub-committee to review the existing arrangements in place regarding those persons whose work brings them in close proximity to power lines.
Acting Chief Labour Officer, Victor Felix, made this disclosure recently while addressing a seminar entitled: Promoting Safety around Electricity, and launch of a Public Relations Campaign to sensitise the public in the Main Conference Room 2nd Floor, Warrens Office Complex.
The PR campaign is a joint effort between the Labour Department, the Barbados Light and Power Company Ltd., the Barbados Government Information Service and NACOSH.
He said the information would be evaluated to determine if adequate arrangements were in place to: prevent persons, other than employees of utility companies, from getting too close to powerlines; give sufficient warning to persons about the presence of powerlines; ensure that all reasonably practicable arrangements are in place to protect against injuries when working near powerlines; and to make sure that sources of high voltage are easily identified.
The Acting Chief Labour Officer also revealed that the sub-committee would also evaluate existing legislative and regulatory requirements with a view to “determining if there are any deficiencies that should be addressed”.
“NACOSH has the responsibility of advising the Minister of Labour on matters related to occupational safety and health with a view to determining the adequacy and effectiveness for protecting persons from exposure to contact with electricity. The sub-committee will evaluate current workplace practices to establish the extent of compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements and will use best practice, including international standards to compare local legislation and practice against other relevant jurisdictions and international standards,” Mr. Felix added.
At the end of this process, the Chief Labour Officer gave the assurance that the sub-committee would make recommendations as appropriate to minimise the risk of injury to persons working near power lines.
Mr. Felix also pledged to work with non-governmental organisations such as the Barbados Contractors’ Association, the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers, the trade unions, the Barbados National Standard Institution, the Government Electrical Engineering Department, the Town and Country Planning Development Office and the Barbados Government Information Service.
“[This is] to ensure that persons involved in work near power lines are fully aware of the hazards and that systems are in place to reduce potential contact to as low as reasonably practicable,” he underlined.