Press Releases Media Library

Back to Press Releases

Labour Minister wants employees to push for safety

September 11, 2023

Employees across Barbados are being urged to make it their business to ensure their workplaces have safety policies in place and committees set up to monitor them. Minister of Labour Colin Jordan made the call as he heaped praises on the Banks Holdings Limited (BHL) Group, one of this island's largest manufacturers, for its focus on health and safety across its companies. On Wednesday, the BHL Group engaged 25 employees from more than six companies across the island in a workplace transportation safety education and demonstration workshop, with a focus on forklift operations. The exercise formed part of BHL's' expanded annual safety training initiative to share best practices with other companies in an effort to help minimise workplace injuries. Addressing the opening of the workshop, Jordan said while the work by BHL provided a glimmer of hope, it needed to be ignited across the island's entire workforce, and he called on employees to be that driving force. "Workers must be participants in all safety and health exercises because it is workers who will suffer if there are accidents. And so, the participation of workers in safety and health committees is vitally important." he said. adding that it is also required under the Safety and Health at Work Act. "Even if there is no safety and health committee in your organisation. you have to agitate because it is the law. You also have to
agitate because apart from it being the law, 't is the right thing to do. You are the ones who will be impacted, so you have to agitate in your business of work to ensure that safety and health committees are established, that workers are participants in those committees, and that the committees work — that is to say, the inspections are done when there are issues that are raised as a result of inspections, and that action is taken," the minister added. Under the Safety and Health at Work Act, a workplace that employs 25 or more people is required to have a Health and Safety Committee in place. Jordan applauded the organisations that took part in the workshop on Wednesday. saying they recognised the importance of having their employees exposed to such development and activity "that will mitigate risk at the places from which you operate". Stating that authorities were always mindful of the risks to safety within the workplace, he pointed out that between 2020 and this year, the Government has enacted at least 10 regulations under the Safety and Health and Work Act. Pointing to the regulation which calls for "an adequate supply of wholesome, cool drinking water" being accessible to all employees and the current soaring temperatures, Jordan urged employees and employers to ensure dehydration was kept at bay. It was Jordan who toured the Banks Brewery facilities last year as part of the

company's safety celebrations and challenged officials there to share their experience and best practices with other businesses. This led to BHL developing a safety training workshop and engaging eight companies for World Safety Week celebrations in April and Wednesday's workshop. Plant Manager at BHL Cecily Gillett reported that Banks Brewery will this month register five years without any lost time injury,
while its sister manufacturing plant, Pine Hill Dairy has recently recorded two years without lost time injury. "This record is the measure of our success: the significant reduction of workplace accidents," said Gillett. "We pride ourselves on the successful implementation of global safety standards and practices which have increased our efficiencies within our operating plants." (MM)