Minister of Labour and Social Security Colin Jordan is urging those in the farming profession to take the matter of safety and health more seriously. Pointing out that containers with hazardous materials had significant occupational safety and health implications, Jordan warned that those responsible for their use also had a responsibility to ensure their safe disposal.
“From an occupational safety and health perspective we know that exposure to these chemical compounds can impact people on their skin, they can impact us in terms of our respiratory systems, they can also impact internally if those substances are ingested,” he said.
As such, Jordan urged employers in the agriculture sector to ensure their workers were engaging in safe practices, insisting that they had a major role to play in reducing occupational safety and health risks.
“I want to encourage farmers to, generally speaking, take safety and health seriously,” he urged.
Highlighting aspects of the Safety and Health at Work (SHaW) Act, Jordan pointed out that it made provision for the establishment of a safety committee for companies of a certain size or a safety officer for smaller firms. “The reason the Act speaks to the safety and health committees or safety officers is that somebody around you needs to continue to nudge you about good safety and health practices,” he said.
He was speaking during the recent launch of the second Pesticide Container Management Scheme at the Spring Hall Land Lease Project in St Lucy, which carries as its theme Read, Rinse and Return, encouraging farmers to practise proper disposal of pesticide containers and hazardous materials.
Urging the farmers to take part in the programme, the labour minister emphasised that it was necessary for farmers to have someone to occasionally remind them of safe practices.
“I want to suggest that you need somebody who will keep you, so to speak, on the straight and narrow, somebody who will remind you from time to time that you have a responsibility not just to others but to yourself to maintain good safety and health practices,” he said. colin