Heightened Occupational Safety and Health Inspections to promote a safe and healthy work place

PHILIPSBURG:— The Labour Inspectorate of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour is enforcing the stance of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in supporting the need for safe work for all. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of the world’s population spend one-third of their adult life at work, contributing actively to the development and well-being of themselves, their families and of society. The average adult spends approximately 40 percent of their total day at work. Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) involves the health and safety of everyone involved, not only the employees and the employers of a workplace but also the patrons.
In the aftermath and recovery of hurricane Irma, many accidents happen like falling from a roof and many workplaces have to deal with serious mold infestation.
The labour Inspectorate aims to ultimately ensure that all businesses comply with existing safety legislation as well as international standards and guidelines.

Every employer and management, therefore, have a legal obligation and responsibility with regards to OSH (National Ordinance on Occupational Safety AB 2013 GT. No.438), namely:

• keeping the workplace safe and healthy; preventing danger
• taking reasonable precautions to ensure the safety and health of every person in the workplace; and
• ensuring that all employees with special needs be given directions, notices, information and instructions on training that is required, by any method of communication that readily permits the employees to receive it.

Conduct workplace risk assessments in 5 steps:

Step 1: identify out how workers and visitors could be harmed. This is achieved by surveying the workplace and all work activities and identifying the hazards to safety and health.
Step 2: identify who might be harmed and how i.e. what type of injury or ill health might occur.
Step 3: Evaluate the risk – Identify and decide on the safety and health risk control measures.
Step 4: record who is responsible for implementing which control measure, and the timeframe. Make a plan of action to deal with the most important things first.
Step 5: Record and display the findings from step 1-4 and make available to workers, supervisors and labour inspectors. Monitor the effectiveness of the control measures and review what is being done on an ongoing basis. Review whether the assessment is still valid, this will help to make sure occupational safety and health standards are still improving, or at least not sliding back.

Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs. There is sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.
Mold growth can be slowed by controlling humidity levels and proper ventilation of areas. If there is mold growth in your workspace or home, you should clean up the mold and fix the water (from leakages/condensation) problem. Moisture control is key to solving mold problems. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Open windows and doors to provide fresh air. Wear non-porous gloves and protective eyewear. If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult a professional.
The importance of safety on the job can’t be underestimated and all work-related accidents must be reported to the Labour Inspectorate and SZV. Violation of occupational safety and health regulations is punishable by law with 3-6 months imprisonment or with a fine.

Press Release Inspectorate VSA.

Source: St. Martin News Network http://www.smn-news.com/st-maarten-st-martin-news/28211-heightened-occupational-safety-and-health-inspections-to-promote-a-safe-and-healthy-work-place.html