Finding local workers who adhere to high quality health and safety standards can be a challenge in Barbados for at least one industry, a human resource official has reported.
The issue was highlighted on Thursday during the Skills for the Future Summit at the Sandals Royal Barbados hotel under the theme Exploring the Future of Skills.
During the panel discussion on the Importance of a Skills-Based Educational System to Barbados’ Economic Development, Head of Human Resources at the Roberts Manufacturing Company Ltd and Pinnacle Feeds Ltd Alison Kirton-Holder said that company had recently had challenges in sourcing local workers who obeyed the health and safety standards.
“When we get people to come in and do stuff for us, whether it is replacing a roofing, decking or anything to that effect, we find that based on the Massy Health and Safety Standards, it is difficult to find companies in Barbados who can adhere to those standards,” Kirton-Holder revealed.
“Quite recently for example, we had to get a Trinidadian company to come in and place decking on one of our towers. They came with their health and safety person and examined the job and did all these things,” said Kirton-Holder.
Pointing out that the way business was conducted in the manufacturing industry was constantly changing so companies could remain competitive, Kirton-Holder said standards have also changed and companies had to constantly keep up-to-date and meet the “sophisticated” needs of customers.
Kirton-Holder said the Lower Estate, St Michael organisation, which is partly owned by the Massy Group, was very “standards driven” and had to pay close attention to health and safety.
However, the HR executive said their recent experience highlighted the need for residents to continuously upgrade their skills and stay abreast of high quality standards.
“We would have liked to have given that job to a local company but we are finding it more difficult, based on standards, to give businesses the work at a local level.
“Something as simple as replacing a roof, our health and safety officer would meet with the contractors and we would say what our standards are, but when we confirm and we look at them they are not wearing harnesses for example, and our staff has been sensitized over the last few years so they know what is required,” said Kirton-Holder.