Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo (second from right), chats with Lead Consultant of the ILO/OSHE Project, Dr. Alan Le Serve, while Second Vice President of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation, Dawn Jemmott-Lowe and General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, Sir Roy Trotman, look on. (A. Miller/BGIS)??

Although this country is facing trying economic times, companies should still make an effort to invest in safety and health mechanisms.

That was the advice given today by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, while speaking at the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Workshop at Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael.

Noting that such measures constituted an integral part of operating a good business, she told the tripartite gathering of Government, Employers and Employee representatives, that small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, should employ such measures, as they were more vulnerable during these times.??

"In this current economic environment a lot of emphasis is being placed on entrepreneurship, yet serious environmental incidents can severely affect the bottom line of small and medium-sized enterprises.?? However, there is ample evidence of the significant positive impact which good Occupational Safety and Health practices have on small and medium-sized enterprises.

"…Although at the outset it may appear that implementing measures to improve Occupational Safety and Health is costly, when viewed against the expense associated with inadequate management of safety and health, a decision to promote safety and health has proven to be a most beneficial business decision," Dr. Byer Suckoo maintained.

The Minister added that the benefits of establishing a good safety culture included the immediate reduction in the number of accidents and ill health in the workplace, increased productivity, decreased absenteeism, higher staff motivation and morale, a reduction in the length and impact of disruptions and lower insurance premiums.

Employees were also urged to play their part in ensuring their own safety while on the job.?? "…Both the Factories Act and Safety and Health at Work Act place responsibilities on workers to support the measures that their employers put in place for their safety", she pointed out, adding that employees should always wear the protective gear provided.

The workshop will be held over a two-day period.


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