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VINLEC urges workers to be more proactive

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Employees of the St. Vincent Electricity Services Ltd. (VINLEC) have been urged to be more proactive than reactive.

The advice has come from Environmental Health and Safety Officer at the electricity company Anthony Patterson.{{more}} Speaking on Monday, September 14, at the launch of the company’s Safety Week, Patterson said that it is unfortunate that “A lot of our health and safety endeavours are reactionary and only take effect after somebody has been hurt.”

Patterson noted that effective health and safety begins from the management level all the way to the ground staff. “When it comes to this, we must take the necessary precautions although it may seem repetitive…We must take it seriously at all times,” Patterson said.

This year’s programme, which commenced on September 13 with a Thanksgiving service at the Faith Temple Church, concluded on September 19 with a Wellness Walk from the main office in Kingstown through Sion Hill and Cane Garden and back to Kingstown.

Held under the theme: “Safety is the way. Live it everyday”, the programme sought to encourage employees to continuously strive to ensure that the company excels in the area of health and safety.

The activities during the week included: A safety survey, the launch of safety exhibitions at Cane Hall, Kingstown Office and Out-stations, Tree planting at various locations, fire drills, fire extinguisher practical sessions, pole top rescue, health checks and presentations and a T-shirt day public speaking competition.

Speaking at the launch, which took place at the company’s Cane Hall office, Chief Executive Officer Thornley Myers implored the staff to practice safety at all times since they are an organisation that has the potential to create significant damage to the environment.

Each year, Vinlec imports over six million gallons of fuel and operates close to shorelines, which pose immediate threats to their surroundings. “Vinlec will not spare the resources that it has available to ensure that its employees work in the safest manner and to protect the environment while doing so,” he noted. Myers is of the firm belief that they have the human capacity and intellectual resources to rise to the challenges that present themselves everyday.

Delivering the feature address, Labour Commissioner Patrice Roberts-Samuel spoke primarily on the labour laws and standards in relation to health and saftey. Roberts-Samuel told the gathering that the legislation of the old factories act of 1955 is still on the books and is in need of change. She noted that a recommendation has already been made to the Attorney General’s office for the drafting of a new bill on occupational saftey, health and the working environment.

In 2007, the Ministry of Labour established an occupational and health and safety committee to examine the Caricom model law on occupational safety and health and the working environment. “Once this bill becomes an Act, then the Old Factories Act would be repelled,” Roberts-Samuel asserted.

Sharing brief remarks, President of the National Workers Movement Noel Jackson commended Vinlec for going in a positive direction with regard to health and saftey.

Jackson said it is incumbent on employees to stress occupational safety and health and also to be aware of their working environment at all times.

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