Boss warned again about safety
GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Minister of Labour Manzoor Nadir said companies that violate the Labour Occupational Safety and Health guidelines will face stiff penalties, when he met with Barama Company officials at its Buck Hall location following the death of a 19-year-old worker.
According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) Press release, Jason Fraser’s remains were found inside a chipper machine at Barama’s Essequibo location.
Nadir said companies must conform to the protocols of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which covers decent work, workers’ rights on the job, communication among workers and management, non employment of children for labour and dangerous types of work that would affect the health of persons.
“It is the Ministry of Labour’s mandate to protect every worker in the country,” he said.
According to GINA, the investigations started as a result of the number of deaths and accidents that occurred within the company over the past five years, as well as other fatalities that occurred during that period. On Wednesday, Barama’s safety protocols were listed and the officials visited the site of the accident.
Nadir was heartened by the company’s commitment to cease its operations and review all aspects of it including the plants and the forest operations though he also noted that the ministry “is very concerned about the matter and will have to shoulder some of the blame, as it should have been more serious with Barama after its second fatality that occurred this year, this being the third accident for the year, both of which were breaches of safety protocols.”
He also said that government was not interested in closing down businesses, but it must put workers safety first as, “It is not going to be businesses at the expense of our people’s lives.” Nadir said the ministry wants businesses to carry out operations in a safe and healthy work environment and within the confines of the country’s labour laws.
“We will work with any company to achieve this objective,” he noted. He also told the meeting that the ILO will be sending a specialist on accident investigations to work along with local investigative team.
The minister said there have been 21 deaths this year which puts the country in the last four years as seeing a 400 per cent increase in industrial deaths.
“Every incident this year will be thoroughly investigated, as they can be used as lessons for positive changes for the protection of workers,” he said.
Additionally, Permanent Secretary at the ministry Trevor Thomas noted that companies who flout the rules should be sanctioned immediately, as it will teach them a lesson, as well as, set an example. (Stabroek News)