The National Union of Public Workers and Ministry of Health today joined forces at the Baobab Tower, Warrens, to devise a plan to bring relief to workers who have been complaining of falling ill in the Government building for over eight months.
Acting Deputy General Secretary Wayne Walrond said while the meeting sought to find temporary solutions to the issue which has been affecting the workers in the Barbados Statistical Service, located on the sixth floor, he is hoping for a permanent solution.
Walrond told Barbados TODAY: “The NUPW would have attended an update meeting with the environmental assessment which was presented by the technical persons from the Ministry of Health in the Public Health section where they made an assessment and gave some recommendations.
“One would be to look at cleaner friendly agents and the right use of agents, providing some ventilation as that would help alleviate the situation they are looking at.
“Assessment will be ongoing and as the assessments are done the workers would be kept updated.
“We are happy with that update, but we would hope a permanent solution comes for these workers who have been complaining for quite some time about environmental issues.”
The acting Deputy General Secretary declared the union will ensure the safety of the workers are maintained throughout the environmental assessments.
But he said: ‘What you cannot guarantee is how quickly these assessments can be completed so you can bring comfort to remedy the situation.
“Environmental issues are very complex, but we would be agitating to ensure that every representation is made to ensure workers are comfortable, that is the NUPW mandate that they make. The best representation is to make sure that the safety of workers are preserved.”
Walrond revealed to Barbados TODAY that the environmental concerns are not isolated to the sixth floor of the Baobab Towers which houses the Statistical Service alone but the entire facility of the Baobab Tower.
He said: “It is a complex issue in terms of trying to assess the environment, but they are committed to have ongoing assessment to get to the bottom of the cause of the problems plaguing not only the Barbados Statistical Service but the entire building.”
Personnel from the Ministry of Health are investigating if the foul odour was emanating from the sewage system, he said.
Walrond added that from his understanding, more tests are to be carried out to deduce if any gases are escaping from the sewage.
“There is still an ongoing investigation into the area where it is suspected that the sewage from the sewage area needs to be looked at and investigated.
“There are several buildings although the Barbados Statistical Service has been coming out it has affected different offices to different extents.
“The problem is not just the Barbados Statistical Service it seems as though different parts of the building have been experiencing these environmental issues.
“They suspect that there may still be a problem between where the sewage system is feeding into the main building, so that whole complete thing they would have to look to see if there are any gases escaping or coming up.”
The NUPW second-in-command said more investigations are to be carried out at the Baobab Tower while workers will continue to be updated on the developments.
Barbados TODAY has been unable to reach Minister of Health and Wellness Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic for comment on the developments.