Usamate urges employers

Employment Minister Hon Jone Usamate addressing participants at the 2018 National OHS Conference at the Pearl Resort Pacific Harbour. Picture: SUPPLIED/DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION

MINISTER of Employment Jone Usamate has urged employers to comply with Occupational Health and Safety laws to reduce the number of accidents in work places.
A total of 1636 injury cases were reported to the Ministry of Labour last year through the Workers’ Compensation Service.
There were seven fatalities last year compared to seven in 2016 and nine in 2015.

“We have good laws in place. We need better compliance. We need stronger prevention and that is a responsibility of all of us,” Mr Usamate said.
“I have a particular concern with those that are working in the informal sector, and those that engage in activities in their own homes and in their own farms, that may have an impact on their lives and health in the future.”

Mr Usamate was particularly concerned with younger workers as statistics showed that more than half of injuries in work places in the last six years were to workers between the ages of 20 years to 30 years.

“This is where the vulnerability of the workforce lies as the majority of the workforce comes from with-in this category,” the minister said.
“The age group from 26-30 years recorded the highest number of reported cases per year or representing 17 percent of the total cases reported for the past 6 years. In 2017, this age group (26-30) recorded 18 percent or 302 cases out of the total of 1636 cases captured in the Ministry’s database.”

According to the minister, younger workers’ were at a high risk of injuries because they had insufficient skills and training, limited knowledge of their rights and their employers’ duties, lacked confidence to speak out and that employers’ did not recognise the additional protection the younger workers needed.

“I call upon employers to protect the safety and health of workers and they should pay particular attention to young workers. They must carry out a risk assessment before a young person starts work and put in place measures to protect them,” Usamate said.

Mr Usamate made the comments at the 2018 National Conference on Occupational Health and Safety at the Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour.

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