Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, addressing the media launch of the Zero in on Safety: 100 day to SHaW promotional campaign. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

All workers and workplaces in Barbados will be covered under the Safety and Health at Work (SHaW) Act. Furthermore, business operators have been advised to "focus your energies on getting your houses in order so that on proclamation day, you will not be found wanting".

This was stated by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, as she addressed a media launch of the Zero in on Safety: 100 day to SHaW promotional campaign last Friday.?? The campaign is an initiative of the Labour Department designed to sensitise the public about the Act.

Stressing that the SHaW Act, which was passed in 2005, would replace the Factories Act, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo said: "The Factories Act specifically dealt with factories but, in the SHaW Act we have defined the workplace. So, it will refer to offices, schools, or any place where persons actually work. This act impacts all workers, in fact it impacts the entire public".

Assuring employers and the public that the Labour Department was ready to provide assistance to workplaces as they endeavoured to prepare their organisations for the proclamation of the Act, Dr. Byer Suckoo stressed: "I am confident that by working together we can change the current attitudes to occupational safety and health and realise a national safety culture that will position Barbados to be a leader within the region."

Stating that the Factories Act was last amended in 1983, she disclosed that the SHaW Act was more relevant to today’s workforce and it addressed the need for all workplaces to have safety and health policies and committees.

Noting that a National Safety Management System would be linked to a national awards scheme, the Labour Minister said: "Organisations which pursue exemplary safety and health practices will be given the national acknowledgement through the awards scheme."

Further adding that during Safety and Health Week 2011, her Ministry held a national consultation with stakeholders to discuss the implementation of a national programme on the adoption of safety and health management systems, she noted: "We are hopeful that these… initiatives will energise workplaces so that we can witness widespread improvements in occupational safety and health standards."??


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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