Safety Week 2012 launched-Major steps taken to boost safety at work


Minister Alexander addressing guests and workshop delegates at the ceremony to launch Safety Week 2012

Labour and Human Resource Development Minister Idith Alexander yesterday said 25 work places already have safety officers, as she launched Safety Week 2012 and an appertaining workshop at Care House.

There are however, hundreds of workplaces that need to comply with the new law, although the government is adopting an educational approach in urging them to employ such officers rather than penalising them yet, Keven Aglaé of the labour department told Nation.

“The regulation on occupational health and safety officers has recently been promulgated and the second occupational health and safety profile for the country will be launched next year,” Ms Alexander said.

“Another example of our achievement is the increase in the recruitment of safety and health officers at workplaces, which has been highly encouraged in our programmes. To date, there are 25 safety officers at workplaces. There has also been an increase in the number of inspection visits to workplaces conducted by my ministry. Since January this year up to October, there has been 1,082 inspection visits,” she said.

She said these are encouraging trends which are helping to mould safe and healthier workplaces in Seychelles.

She noted Safety Week 2012 is being marked under the theme chosen by the International Labour Organisation – Promoting safety and health in a green economy.

“This theme calls for employers who invest in green jobs, to also integrate safety into sustainable development, so that workers who are exposed to harmful substances and physical hazards are adequately protected.

“Let us be reminded by this theme that a shift in the world to a greener economy is indeed taking place. “As this happens, green jobs are being generated and emerging occupational risks and hazards are imminent. In a local context, the private sector has been called to assume investment and public-private sector partnerships for the development of renewable energy,” she said.

Referring to Seychelles economy as modern though small, Ms Alexander said the labour market is constantly changing and we must be prepared to adjust our strategies to respond to new diversification of the economy.

“In these challenging times, approaches to improving safety and health are not only better for workers, but they also promote economic growth.”

A host of safety gear on display in  an exhibition to coincide with the launch of Safety Week 2012

She appealed to employers to ensure that while seeking to protect the environment, renewable energy must also be safe and healthy for our workers if we are to reap its full benefits.

She said her ministry remains committed to ensure that workplaces are safe and healthy for employees. “It should be understood that green jobs can only be decent jobs when the environmental impacts as a whole are reduced. My ministry extends its full support to evaluate and monitor the hazards and risks associated with green jobs and place it high on the national agenda.”

She told delegates at the two-day workshop that they have a pivotal role in ensuring that workers are kept informed on new emerging risks and how to protect themselves in case such risks arise in the workplace.