Statement
29 April 2019 - 10:52am

STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE VINCENT WHEATLEY
ON WORLD DAY FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK 2019:
SAFETY AND HEALTH AND THE FUTURE OF WORK

Today we celebrate with the International Labour Organization on its 100th anniversary.

The International Labour Organization has been promoting the tripartite representation between Government, Employers and Employees since its inception in 1919.

Occupational Safety and Health is an extremely important component of decent work and should play a vital role in any working environment.  

The policies and international labour standards that the ILO has produced since its inception have led to the establishment of more effective prevention for established risks, profound changes in ways of working, and safety and health structures that reflect a general culture of prevention that creates shared responsibility to combat the problem whereby 374 million people are injured or made ill yearly through work-related accidents.

As the Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, I want to encourage both employers and employees  to continue to play their part in making the Virgin Islands a proactive society as it relates to occupational safety and health. With the revision of the Labour Code in 2010 the Government introduced Part IX to address the Health, Safety & Welfare needs of the workforce. 

Both the Ministry and the Labour Department will continue to build on what has previously been established. We will  also introduce new initiatives, thus keeping in line with ILO standards and procedures for Health and Safety in the workplace.

As the world of work changes we must be in sync with the technological developments that will make our work easier and more efficient such as digitization, nanotechnology and robotics to name a few. However, we still need to be mindful that these advancements, while allowing us to work smarter, may also present serious Occupational Safety and Health related injuries.

The Labour Department is preparing to launch its Health and Safety Culture Campaign in the upcoming week which will highlight:

  • Capacity Building Training for Inspectors and other Labour Staff;
  • Development of a Quick Guide to Health and Safety to assist organizations with the Part IX of the 2010 Labour Code;
  • School Sensitization Project; and
  • Safety Champion Program.

This campaign will educate persons not only in the workforce but at the school aged level. 

In conclusion, in order to promote organizational safety and health throughout the Virgin Islands we need to embrace a health and safety culture or lifestyle while encouraging others to do the same.  Therefore, I encourage all of us to adhere to the international labour standards and workplace practices as set out by ILO to ensure that the tripartite relationship between the Government, employers and employees remains beneficial to all.  Thank you.

Honourable Vincent Wheatley
Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration
Government of the Virgin Islands

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