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Permanent Secretary, Andrew Cox. (FP)

Employers are required to conduct Risk Assessments and prepare a written Safety and Health Policy for their organisations.

These two enhanced provisions for safety management are mandated under the Safety and Health at Work (SHaW) Act.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Andrew Cox, confirmed this recentLy at a seminar for human resource managers held during the BWU’s Week of Excellence at Solidarity House.

He explained that Section 6(2) of the SHaW Act stated that employers must conduct a suitable and sufficient assessment of risks and the steps needed to eliminate or minimise these risks.??

Noting that ???suitable and sufficient’ meant that the assessment had to be proportionate to the health and safety risks associated with the organisation, he said this was necessary since it allowed for the development of control measures that adequately reduced the risks to acceptable levels.

Mr. Cox further indicated that once the assessment was properly conducted, the findings would be beneficial to both employers and employees.

"Employers are able to identify those risks that are significant and need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.?? Employers are, therefore, better placed to properly allocate resources, and effort is not wasted on insignificant risks that are not likely to cause injury," the Permanent Secretary indicated.??

He also pointed out that Section 7(4) required employers to prepare and revise, as often as appropriate, a safety and health policy.?? That document should address the organisational structure and arrangements that are put in place to ensure that the objectives of the policy statement have been met.??

"The roles and responsibilities of individuals within the organisation need to be clearly delineated.?? [So that] each employee therefore, has a clear understanding of his or her contribution to the implementation of the safety and health policy of the workplace," Mr. Cox explained.

Also emphasising that safety delegates and safety committees are required to be involved in the process, he emphasised that, "It ensures the widescale acceptance of the policy by the workforce."

Further stressing that proper communication of the policy to all employees is critical, he reasoned, "Once [the policy is] developed, it should be properly communicated to all employees and the arrangements are [put] in place to review and revise that policy as may be necessary."

Mr. Cox maintained that safe and healthy workplaces have a direct and positive impact on productivity.?? "Evidence shows that well managed companies with high standards of safety and health in workplaces have achieved increased productivity," he asserted.??

shamkoe.pile@barbados.gov.bb

Author: Shamko?? Pile

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