After years of rallying for the implementation of a legislation to protect workers on the job site, the Unions say they have been informed that the bill-dubbed the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, will be tabled at tomorrow’s sitting of the House of Representatives. For clarity on what the unions and other interested organizations have been negotiating for, here’s President of the Public Service Union, Marvin Blades.
“Occupation and Safety Health Bill is a bill that protects workers in one sense that, for example, every time you go on the highways, or even if you look around these officers don’t have the gear that they need for the work that they do; for example these guys dealing with tar, but there is no protective gloves, nor protective suits; there is nothing and all these fumes go and affect these officers. Later on in their careers they will definitely have certain health issues. A lot of the times, accidents happen in the workplace that Social Security themselves have to be paying out because of accident prone on whatever location they are at, the provider, the employer is not putting these in place. So, the OSH bill gives two to three years span in which yourself to get up to par. so, it’s not like if it’s past tomorrow, you have this gear immediately. It gives you a three years to phase-in this program and it will help all these workers, honestly”.
The PSU anticipates that the bill will not only benefit workers in the public sector, but in private companies as well, and will serve as a type of vindication for employees.
Mr. Ray Davis- Industrial Relations Officer of the PSU
Mr. Ray Davis: “In addition to that, it is also going to be, in my view, a vindication for some of the companies that we have right now that are even now without legislation complying with a lot of the safety standard that is recognized as where. So, it is a way of getting other employers in the same page in terms of the protection of the main asset that they have which is the workforce. So, the plan is important, but your primary asset is your workers. So, the focus of the OSH Bill is to make sure that there s safety and health issues taken care of at that level”.
As we said, the Unions, as well as other organizations who have played a key role in sketching the bill, expect it to be brought before the House for a first reading tomorrow. And they are hoping that the content of the would-be piece of legislation, corresponds with what they have been asking for.
Mr. Ray Davis: “It is a Bill that has been worked on for quite a few years by quiet a few persons who have been at the forefront of working this Bill and I can tell you even now, many of those persons are concerned with regards how does this final Bill that is going to be presented looks? Is there significant differences between they have over the years toiled over and agreed on because it was a lot of agreements and arguments between the three legs involved which is the government, the business sector and the Union sector? We have the Social Security Board that has been sort of recent time, the main force that is pushing to have this Bill passed through. So, we have been having quite a bit of buying for all the sectors involved for this Bill”.