Posted: Tuesday, September 17, 2019. 8:55 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Yesterday evening the Ministry of Labor issued a response to Friday’s deadly and tragic collapse of a metal scaffold inside the Belize Civic Center, which killed two workers and injured as many as six others.
Opponents of the Government have seized on the delay in passing and implementing an Occupational Health and Safety Act. The Bill was first introduced in 2014, but died after objections from the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representing employers.
The Ministry, extending its condolences to those affected, restated its commitment to ensuring the implementation and monitoring of OSH, and made note that it and the Labour Advisory Board awaits the recommendations from the Chamber and National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), representing the workers, who agreed to take charge of the details of the Act.
In the absence of the Act, the Ministry calls separately on employers and employees to safeguard the lives, health and wellness of the latter and hold accountable the former for complying with occupational health and safety protocols.
Separately, the Trade Union Congress informs that it has sent correspondence to the Chamber to resume discussions. “We have agreed on an initial strategy to iron out recognized concerns and will continue to emphasize for our continued collective dedication and urgency of the process. Workplace accidents and injuries happen more often than is presented by the media and many of them are preventable if OSH guidelines and regulations were to be adopted and adhered to, as such we encourage all citizens, employers, employees and leaders in this country to support our call for OSH into law,” the Congress press release added.
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