Teacher’s Union Annual Meeting Discusses the OSH Bill

vlcsnap-2014-04-24-17h35m23s68The Occupational Safety and Health Bill has caused disquiet for employers who believe its measures are too punitive and do harm to all businesses and employees.

But consultations as part of the process to make it law continue, and today members of the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) listened to a presentation from a member of the committee that drafted the bill, engineer Philip Waight.

Waight told us that the bill contains important commitments for both employers and employees.

vlcsnap-2014-04-24-17h18m15s188Philip Waight- Presenter of the Occupational Safety and Health Bill 2014

“It is the responsibility of the employers to have a safety workplace. It is their business; they know what they are dealing with, so, they have to make sure tha the employers are fully aware of all the risks that are involved in their business and therefore, provide a healthy and safety working environment;  “It is the responsibility of the employees to the policies and procedures, the practices and all that is necessary to ensure that nobody gets hurt on the job. 

Reporter:  “So, with respect to teachers, what are some of the things to lookout for?”

Philip Waight:  “Well, teachers will lookout for example, at the classroom situation.  In most classroom, there a lot of electrical hazards.  Outlets are not covered, switches are not covered, loose wires are hanging around.  Those are basic little housekeeping that they can do; having an organized classroom where there is clear passage way that teachers and students alike can find”.

BNTU President Luke Palacio reaffirmed his union’s support for the Bill.

vlcsnap-2014-04-24-17h31m24s0Luke Palacio- President of the Belize National Teacher’s Union

“This morning, we started out with discussing the OSH Bill with a presentation…again, very enlightening.  We believe that the OSH Bill is an important bill that need to go into its full process to be enacted into law, taking into consideration the contributions of the unions, the workers (of course, w know they have their own take, but we don’t believe that  we cannot try and and work and resolve amicably”. 

The next meeting of the House Committee that is hearing comments on the Bill takes place in Belize City next Tuesday, April 29, at 6:00 p.m. at the ITVET Compound.

The unions are the focus of the consultations this time around, as the Committee goes nationwide before final amendment and review of the Bill later this year.

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