VINLEC Environmental Health and Safety Awareness Month
Held under the theme “Educate, demonstrate, participate,” VINLEC has set out a calendar of activities aimed at spreading awareness about health and safety in the workplace.
Speaking at the launch, VINLEC’s Communications officer, Tamara Job-Sprott, said the importance of health and safety can never be underestimated.
Job-Sprott said that employers have an obligation to ensure that employees work in a safe and healthy environment, while employees have a responsibility to adhere to all safety rules and regulations.
During the month of activities, Jobb-Sprott said that VINLEC intends to carry out activities which should improve attitudes towards safety, increase understanding of the importance of the occupational health and safety and foster a safety minded culture.
This year, VINLEC will be embarking on their first ever national occupational health and safety conference and will carry out health checks for persons in the Spring Village community who were affected by the flash floods of December 2013.
Environmental Health and Safety officer at VINLEC Anthony Patterson, in his remarks, stated that while VINLEC can count its successes, the numbers indicate that there is a continued cause for concern and room for improvement in health and safety.
“We have had a number of personal injury incidents in the past year that highlight the need for continued vigilance and compliance for safety guidelines and best practices,” Patterson noted.
He said electrocution incidents since last May, across St Vincent and the Grenadines, demonstrate the need for more public education on the use of electricity.
Patterson said that the organization has, since last year, gone through numerous training sessions in various aspects of environmental health and safety.
Thornley Myers, CEO of VINLEC, said the organisation seeks to emphasize the issue of environmental safety, because they are aware that the processes involved in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, have the potential to create serious and long-lasting impact on the environment.
“We must be conscious of our responsibility in this regard and do everything possible to mitigate negative environmental impacts,” Myers said.
Occupational safety and health month at VINLEC, Myers said, is a time when they seek to reinforce the values of the organization, in relation to workplace safety and health.
“VINLEC’s commitment to good occupational safety and health practices is supported by every level of management and has the full support of the shareholder…,” Myers said.
In an effort to strive for greater occupational efficiency, he said the organisation continuously benchmarks its performance against regional and international utilities.
“In many areas, we hold our own and in other areas, we do much better than our peers.”
However, in the area of safety, Myers said they are too far behind.
“There is work to be done and it requires the commitment of all to raise our standards. It is not sufficient to be producing high quality and reliable electricity service. We must do so in a safe manner…,” he added.
Delivering the feature address, Dr Lennox Adams, who spoke mainly on diet and lifestyles, said he has been seeing changes in disease patterns.
“We have imported the fast food culture. Over the past couple decades, our eating habits have changed considerably… The Internet culture has also changed us… We eat more, we play less, waist lines are getting larger. There are now more diabetics and hypertensives at an early age,” the physician stated.
Adams urged persons to take care of their health at an early age, so they would have less corrective work to do in the later years.
“We are changing out attitudes, our lifestyles and diet. There are more admissions to the hospitals, it would seem these days, our emergency rooms are crowded and there is an overwhelming of the health care system…,” Adams said.
He said it is important that close attention be paid to personal health when occupational health and safety is considered.
“Sick workers lead to decrease and loss of productivity…”
Other speakers at the launch included RenÃ© Baptiste, chair of the Board of Directors of VINLEC and Noel Jackson, general secretary of the National Workers Movement.
Pastor Allister Blake gave the exhortation.
A musical item was done by the Lowmans Bay power plant quartet. (KW)