??Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo (FP)

Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and the environment are inextricably linked, and good or bad practices employed in either area will have a corresponding negative or positive impact on the other.

That was the view expressed recently by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, while speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day tripartite meeting entitled International Labour Organisation’s Safety, Health and Environment Workshop, at Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael.

"This link can sometimes be lost on persons, but it is well recognised that the two concerns and concepts are inextricably tied up with each other…The recent explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrates in the extreme the inextricable link between occupational safety and health and the environment; for not only did 11 persons, fathers and husbands lose their lives, the environmental impact of the millions of gallons of oil that wreaked havoc on everything that moved in and around the Gulf of Mexico is ample proof that workplace accidents can significantly impact the environment.??More than a year later, the human and environmental health effects of that disaster continue to be felt and will be felt for many years to come," she explained.

Noting that the information surrounding the relationship between occupational health and safety and the environment was particularly important for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), the Minister added that the workshop, which attracted representatives from Government, employer and employee organisations, was a good forum to facilitate such a dissemination of material.

"It is expected that this programme would generate a heightened sensitisation among SMEs of the relevance of occupational safety, health and environmental matters…you are encouraged to act as agents to initiate and promote change in the culture of your organisations and communities by extension," Dr. Byer Suckoo advised participants.

Some of the topics discussed at the meeting were: Implications for the Inspectorate from a National/Regional Perspective; Details of the Safety and Health at Work Act 2005; Implications for the SME Sector in the Caribbean; Other Issues relating to Occupational Safety and Health and the Environment (OSHE) in the Caribbean and The New International Labour Organization OSHE Webpage – a useful tool for key stakeholders.??


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