Moore: Safety code violators should not get Gov’t contracts

A labour leader has urged Government to award state contracts only to companies that adhere to occupational safety and health regulations.

Speaking during debate on the Safety and Health at Work (Amendment) Act 2022 in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, Member of Parliament for St George North and General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Toni Moore said there were too many instances where companies and organisations that were awarded contracts failed to observe the regulations.

“Organisations have to remember that working people are not just working for the owner of the company but other nearby organisations, and residents should also be considered working people and their health and safety is important as well. There are far too many companies observing health and safety regulations in the breach,” she said.

Moore cited, as examples, the quarry at Lower Estate in her constituency, operated by Jose Y Jose, which has been a cause of concern for residents in the area for several years, and the recently reopened B’s Recycling plant at Cane Garden, St Thomas.

“In the Lower Estate scenario, there have been failures to observe Town and Country Planning Department regulations despite several warnings being issued, and people in that area are forced to keep their windows closed because of respiratory issues,” the MP lamented.

“And those living in St Thomas would likely feel the same way now that the recycling plant near them has been allowed to function again although no explanation was offered to them. While there may be legitimate reasons why problems are not addressed, if people feel that their concerns are being ignored, they will act accordingly.”

Moore also called for the enforcement of fines for health and safety violations, suggesting that many companies did not take them seriously.

“You can put fines and penalties in place but if they are small – for example, $100 a day – and then you don’t enforce them people will laugh at them. Some companies will continue to breach the rules in the knowledge that they can pay the fines if they come up, but they also are of the opinion that they are not likely to come up. However, if we want our labour situation managed properly, we have to hold people accountable by enforcing the relevant legislation,” she contended.

Meantime, Moore supported the provision in the amendment that gives employees the right to refuse to carry out a task that put them in potentially life-threatening or otherwise risky situations.

“This is an area that is often disputed, but I believe that the health and safety of an employee should never be compromised. All too often, employees are given the impression that if they fail to carry out a certain task they consider dangerous they will be in jeopardy of losing their job. I welcome the fact that the amendment will take this into consideration and that these provisions will be enforced,” she said. (DH)

Related posts

Why no free trade agreement between Caribbean and Africa?

Police investigating fatal shooting at Gall Hall

Kes the Band and Patrice Roberts & the A Team band headline RISE V exclusively this Crop Over Wednesday

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Privacy Policy