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Ministry of Health commited to chemical safety

Ministry of Health commited to chemical safety

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The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment has commited to improving safety in relation to chemicals, throughout their life cycle, in St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

The commitment was made by Permanent Secretary Luis deShong at the opening of a three-day workshop for chemical management in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is making a huge effort to facilitate safe and environmentally sound manufacture, distribution, handling and disposal of chemical products,” deShong said.

He noted that the workshop was phase three in a project to promote awareness of chemical management safety.

During the workshop, reports were expected to be given on the draft legal policy of chemical management and a legislative review of chemical management. Additionally, a report on the national chemicals’ inventory, storage of hazardous chemicals, occupational safety and hygiene as it relates to chemicals in the workplace, was expected.

“Sessions will be activity driven and you will be issued certificates at the end of training,” he told participants.

On board with the initiative are Dr Winston McCalla, legal expert, Patricia Aquing, executive officer of Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) and Lesmond Magloire, chemicals specialist from CEHI.

Funded by Quickstart, a body under the Strategic Alliance of International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the programme was described by Aquing as an interesting and very much needed project in St Vincent.

“This project should not be a project that when the funding runs out, you’re left with few things: a database and an inventory,” she said.

She noted that there will be an opportunity to develop further projects for funding from Quickstart to better aid in the management of chemicals in the country.

“I’m saying this with great optimism that we can in fact move forward,” Aquing said.

Project manager Tasheka Haynes said the first two phases of the project, which have been completed, are an assessment of issues and challenges with respect to chemical management, inventory of chemicals and use and a formulation of a legal policy, as well as creating an integrated national plan for chemical management.

“The whole purpose of doing all of this work is not just to do a project and then it comes to an end and we close it off…we are hoping for continuity and we are hoping for building on what we would have already started,” Haynes stressed.

Additionally, Haynes pointed out that the workshop will primarily deal with the hazardous and health and safety aspects of chemical management. She said it is hoped that persons attending may be able to impart knowledge gained to co-workers in their companies as best as possible, so that they know what proper chemical management entails.

The three-day workshop ran from April 2 to 4.

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