Members of the audience at the launch. (A. Miller/BGIS)

With less than 100 days to go before the proclamation of the Safety and Health at Work (SHaW) Act, the Labour Department has already begun putting mechanisms in place for effective administration of this new law.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, gave this assurance last Friday, September 21, during the media launch of the Zero in on Safety: 100 Days to SHaW campaign.??

Stating that the "Labour Department has vigorously enhanced its educational programmes in private and public sectors", Dr. Byer Suckoo said that there was an increase in the number of requests made to the Occupational Safety and Health

Section of the Labour Department for training in the requirements of the SHaW Act and safety and health in general.

As a result, she observed: "There has been a concomitant increase in the knowledge and competence of workers in the area of occupational safety and health, thus raising the national profile of this discipline."

In addition to training, the Minister pointed out that the department had upgraded its literature and produced material designed to assist employers and employees in understanding their new roles and responsibilities under the Act.

"Some of these documents include an abstract which highlights the salient points from the Act that apply to all workplaces and the Agricultural Policy Guidelines, which outlines the safety and health best practices within the agricultural sector," she said.

Disclosing that her Ministry was embarking on the Zero in on Safety: 100 Days to SHaW promotional campaign, she explained that it was designed to sensitise the public about the requirements and benefits of the SHaW Act.

Moreover, the Labour Minister told the press, "It is the intention of the Labour Department to produce a simplified version of the SHaW Act, which gives a summary of the Act’s main provision."

Further reporting that initiatives had been implemented thus far, she explained: "The first one seeks to encourage and promote the adoption of safety and health management systems at the enterprise level."??

She continued: "You may recall that during Safety and Health Week 2011, we were exposed to the Mexican programme for encouraging the adoption of safety and health management systems. During the national consultation that followed, stakeholders were given the opportunity to suggest how a similar programme may be implemented on a national level. The Department has taken the stakeholders’ comments into consideration". ??

Minister Byer Suckoo said that the SHaW Act would be proclaimed on or before January 1, 2013.??


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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