Usamate: Adhere to OHS laws

Minister for Employment, Industrial Relations and Productivity Jone Usamate at a public consultation with employers representatives in Sigatoka. Picture: REPEKA NASIKO

EMPLOYERS need to ensure their workplaces are safe and that their workers are adhering to Occupational Health and Safety rules.

This was the advice from Minister for Employment, Industrial Relations and Productivity Jone Usamate while addressing employers at a public consultation in Sigatoka yesterday.

He said workers who lifted heavy goods were especially vulnerable to injuries if they did not lift the maximum load required under OHS laws.

“I say this because just today (yesterday) we saw workers lifting about 100kg of load and under OHS laws that is an offence,” he said.

“You have to ensure that your workers are lifting the required weight which is a maximum of 25kg and not more than that.”

He said Government was also committed to ensuring OHS laws were adhered to while at the same time ensuring that the employer flourished in their businesses. “We want the private sector to flourish and do as well as possible but safely. Healthy workers lead to greater productivity.

There are two basic principles we always stress, in terms of OHS and managing workplace risk and managing workplace conflicts. “This is the responsibility of both workers and managers.

This is why there needs to be an OHS committee in any workplace with over 20 members.

“We also require that any organisation with over 20 workers have a labour, management, corporation committee, so they can discuss grievances and try to resolve them.

Both committees need to have membership that is elected by both employers and employees.” More consultations will be held in Nadi today.

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