Labour Minister bemoans lack of workplace safety culture in Guyana

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton

Some 52 Aurora Gold Mine (AGM), Zijin Mining subsidiary employees and those part of the Joint Workplace Safety and Health Committee, received Health and Safety workplace certificates after successfully completing a three-day joint Workplace Safety and National Insurance Scheme (NIS) Training Programme.

Derived from a collaborative effort between the Labor Ministry’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Department and the NIS the aim was to train members of the Joint Workplace Safety and Health Committee and prepare them to carry out their mandate in the workplace, as required by Chapter 99:06 of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act.

Speaking at the end of training ceremony last week, Assistant Chief OSH Officer, Maxean Bess, she stated that the programme is intended to equip representatives with the knowledge and skills needed to design and maintain safe work systems and techniques, thereby minimizing or eliminating workplace accidents.

“This would then allow participants to demonstrate an understanding of their roles and responsibilities as Joint Workplace Safety Committee representatives,” she stated.Participants can now conduct workplace inspections and accident investigations to adopt methods to control and/or eliminate hazards in their own workplaces. This includes the participants and the workplace receiving certification that would be valid for one year.

Meanwhile, Labor Minster Jospeh Hamilton, who was also present at the ceremony said that such training demonstrates the importance of creating a relationship between the ministry and the agency to promote safe and healthy working conditions for the benefit of both employers and employees.

According to the minster, this achievement will bring the labor ministry closer to addressing the country’s lack of safety culture, and he has committed to continuing to work together with AGM/Zijin Mining to replicate similar success. This includes training the AGM/Zijin Mining emergency team at a later date, with the goal of responding swiftly and effectively to any emergency.

“We are changing as a country to address our lack of safety culture, so we are paying attention to these matters like never before,” the minister noted. He then encouraged other agencies to collaborate with the ministry to protect the workers’ lives. Turning his attention to accidents in the household, Minister Hamilton urged the employees to not only act upon their knowledge learnt in the workspaces but also to apply their knowledge in their homes, especially accidents relating to gas tanks.

The ministry will soon roll out its Public Relations (PR) strategy for 2024, which will include a consistent communication plan to bring general awareness and knowledge, with the goal of promoting health and safety beyond the workplace.