The National Conservation Commission (NCC) is taking all necessary steps to ensure its staff operates in a healthy and safe work environment, and practise the necessary safety precautions during the execution of their duties.
Special Projects Officer at the NCC, Ricardo Marshall, said the Health and Safety training for staff which started on January 8, was in keeping with the January 1 proclamation of the Safety and Health at Work Act, and the recognition that staff needed to be sensitised about such issues. The sessions are conducted every Tuesday and Thursday between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
In a statement issued by the NCC, he said: "Healthy and safe workplaces are fundamental to achieving productive work and high quality working lives, as injuries and illnesses increase workers’ compensation, retraining costs and absenteeism.
"The cost burden of illness and injury, especially in organisations with large staff complements, such as the NCC, can be quite significant, and impacts negatively on organisational productivity as well."
The recent training programme saw NCC rangers, wardens, lifeguards and those from the Field Services Department, including the mobile teams and Nursery staff, participating in the initial sessions. However, every category of staff at the NCC will be trained over time.
Mr. Marshall stressed that securing the health and safety of persons at work was not only achieved through the issuing of requisite safety gear and the provision of a safe and healthy environment, but the education of staff was paramount.
"Staff needs to understand what constitutes a healthy and safe environment and what constitutes a hazard and a risk. They should also be aware of their responsibility, and the responsibility of the employer, as it relates to health and safety in the workplace and with the legislation in order to understand how it relates to them and their duties," he said.
Facilitator of the training, Ryan Als, said the process was not just about legal compliance, but doing what was right in the best interest of the staff and the organisation. "Training is critical and demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to providing a safe and healthy working environment for all staff," he said.
Meanwhile, the NCC is hopeful that the training sessions would result in more informed staff, especially as it relates to health and safety, reduced sickness-related absenteeism, fewer injuries resulting in more staff on the job, greater productivity and an enhanced corporate image.
The Commission collaborated with and received guidance from the Labour Department in establishing a Safety and Health Committee, and the assessment of workplace risks and hazards in its various departments.