How the Safety and Health at Work Act could enhance small and medium enterprises, was the message shared recently, as winners of the National Advisory Committee on Safety and Health Poster and Logo Competitions Safety for Life — It Begins With You, gathered for an awards ceremony at the Ministry of Labour, Warrens Office Complex.
Addressing the audience of primary and secondary school students, teachers and guardians, President of the Small Business Association, Dalton Medford, encouarged students to take elements of safety and health into their home, as a contribution to the many strides Barbados was making to improve safety and health, including the introduction of the SHAW Act.
“This legislation provides an opportunity which cannot be missed, to improve the way we do business. The fact is the SHAW Act gives us a policy and a regulated apparatus to ensure that businesses, in particular small and medium enterprises of which I represent, are able to employ tools to have better safe and sound operations.
“This motivates me to work with entities such as NACOSH, the Ministry of Labour and other industry partners to systematically, and, in a sustained manner, help to ensure that the SMEs are better positioned to contribute to the continued growth and development of our society and economy,” Medford explained.
Noting that the SHAW Act served as a preventive measure against occupational hazards, the SBA president observed that the vulnerability experienced by small businesses meant that compliance became even more necessary.
“SMEs represents a great source of employment generation… It is, therefore, [necessary for] us to ensure that the sector of small businesses can be sustainable. I, therefore, suggest that a safe and sound work environment is a step in the right direction,” he suggested.
To this end, Medford said it was crucial for workplace standards to be established — from procedures in the use of chemicals and the layout of the work plant, to the type of furniture available and the provision of appropriate staff facilities. All activities and areas related to work should be in compliance with the act and be conducive to a safe and healthy work environment, he stressed.
The competition winners, whose work was awarded for depicting the NACOSH competition theme were: In the eight to 10 category, Amor Knight-Miller from Charles F. Broome, who won a Sony X Box and books; the 11 to 15 age group saw Kristina Patrick from Ellerslie Secondary win an iPad; while Queen’s College’s, Aerin Prescod, who won in the 16 to 18 category, was awarded an iPad, and a dinner for two at Wytukai. In the over 18 category, Michael Nicholls was awarded $1,000 and an iPad. Monetary prizes were also given to the schools of those students who placed in the competition.
The awards also saw the launch of safety and health mascot, Safety Sam, depicted as a turtle in protective construction site gear, including work boots, hard hat, and gloves.