Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo with staff of the BL&P Co. Ltd. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Barbadians business owners have been encouraged to implement safety and health initiatives and standards as a means of stimulating employee engagement within their organisations.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, made this appeal yesterday as she addressed a certification ceremony for staff of the Barbados Light and Power Company (BL&P) Ltd on their achievement of the Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard (OHSAS) 18001 and the International Organisation of Standardization (ISO) 14001.

Stating that she was extremely pleased with the achievement of the BL&P, Dr. Byer Suckoo said: "It is evident by these feats, that the Barbados Light and Power Co. Ltd has unquestionably demonstrated its commitment to the provision of quality services, environmental care and best practices in workplace safety and health."

Further noting that BL&P was one of two local companies to have gained the OHSAS 18001 certification, and one of four organisations to have attained the ISO 14001, she stressed that her Ministry supported enterprises which demonstrated commitment to occupational safety and health.

The Labour Minister said that the OSHAS was based on a simple concept known as the Deming Cycle or the ???Plan-Do-Check-Act, designed in the 1950s to monitor business performance on a continual basis, while the ISO standards ensured that products and services were of a good quality as well as safe and reliable.??

She added that an "investment" in safety not only resulted in engaged employees, but also preserved life and protected workers from work-related ill health, incidents and injuries.??

"…This kind of commitment demonstrates that employers are interested in the welfare of their workers, and also manifests an understanding of the direct relationship between a healthy workforce and high productivity," she maintained.

Emphasising that the lack of engagement was a challenge not only for government, but also for the private sector, Dr. Byer Suckoo reiterated: "A workplace’s focus on safety induces more engagement of the worker as it signals management’s concern for this/herr well-being.

"That worker is more likely not just to show up and do the minimum required, but become integrated in the life of the organisation and give a 100 per cent," she reasoned.

The Labour Minister also pointed out that mechanisms, such as safety policies and committees which are required under the Safety and Health at Work (SHaW) Act, were also a form of engagement.????

Praising BL&P for the strides it made in the area of occupational safety, she told management and staff of the organisation: "I have every expectation that the BL&P Co. Ltd, having achieved OHSAS accreditation, is well on its way to being in compliance with the SHAW Act…so far you have exceeed expectations of the Act.?? I encourage other organisations to follow your example…"

Encouraging other enterprises to follow suit, Dr. Byer Suckoo surmised: "It is well-known that when corporate entities manage health and safety with the same degree of expertise and to the same standard as the core business activities, work-related ill health and accidents are prevented and well-being at work is enriched…this ultimately leads to greater productivity and profitability."??


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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