THE St. Lucia Employers’ Federation as part of its mandate of providing training to its members, recently facilitated the certification of 19 Safety and Health Officers from among its membership.
The Federation contracted Mr. Anthony Rocheford, who is authorized by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) to provide training in occupational safety and health, to train Safety and Health Officers of various St. Lucian companies over a one week period (40 hours).
The 19 participants, who all sat a written examination which was prepared and graded in the United Kingdom, have all been successful and have been granted a “Level 1 Certificate” in Occupational Safety and Health.
According to the Federation, Section 257 of the Labour Act stipulates among others, that “….. an employer shall ensure that a safe, sound, healthy and secure working environment is provided and maintained as far as is reasonably practicable ……..”
In addition, the Act directs that workplaces where the number of employees exceed ten, must select at least one Safety and Health Officer who is “competent” to perform such functions, and workplaces in excess of twenty employees must establish a joint workplace Safety and Health Committee consisting of management and employee representatives.
The Level 1 Certificate acknowledges the “competence” of the Safety and Health Officer to ensure that safety requirements are instituted and enforced at the workplace, risks and hazards identified and accidents investigated appropriately, thereby meeting the requirements of this provision of the Labour Code.
Mr. Gregory Serieux, Safety and Health Officer of NIPRO, a subsidiary of the National Insurance Corporation and one of the successful participants, put it in perspective by saying that “apart from conformance with the labour laws, it is incumbent on employers to ensure the safety and well being of all employees”, hence his main reason for attending the training.
The Federation intends to again offer this training opportunity sometime in 2016 to increase on the number of certified Health and Safety Officers on the island and by extension, engender a culture of Health and Safety across businesses island wide.