The BVI joined the rest of the world in observing International Labour Organization (ILO) day for Safety & Health at work around the world on April 28.
Health and Safety Coordinator in the Human Resources Department, Mrs. Dawn Leonard said the Territory’s Public Service commemorated the day as it is imperative that there is reflection on achievements in protecting Public Officers and efforts to promote Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in the Public Service.
Mrs. Leonard said, “For almost 50 years, occupational safety and health has been legislated in our labour laws. There have been various champions for occupational safety and health in the time frame and incremental advances to OSH. The future of work within the Public Service can be enhanced significantly if we achieve the full institutionalisation of occupational safety and health.”
Mrs. Leonard also added that in April of 2018, the Public Service accomplished a significant milestone when the Workplace Health and Safety Policy and Procedure Manual was approved by Cabinet. She said through the aggressive efforts of the Health and Safety Unit within the Department of Human Resources, the policy was officially launched during Pubic Service Week October 2018 and its implementation began.
The Health and Safety Coordinator said this achievement is significant as it signals an intentional effort by the Public Service to be fully aligned with the Labor Code of 2010. In the same period, a Joint Workplace Health and Safety Occupational Committee was officially appointed by the Deputy Governor, Mr. David Archer, Jr.
This committee will advise the Deputy Governor and the Director of Human Resources, Mrs. Michelle Donovan Stevens on matters of health and safety and oversee the work of the statutory ministerial Joint Workplace Health Safety Committees.
Some important achievements in Occupational Safety and Health include:
- Approval of the Workplace Health and Safety Policy
- Launching of the Policy and implementation of the Policy
- Official Appointment of the Joint Workplace Health and Safety Oversight Committee
- ILO Certification Training of Joint Workplace Health and Safety Oversight Committee
- Service-wide Health and Safety Management Training
- Service-wide awareness and sensitization of Officers
- Development of guidance documents
- Development of a frame work for Occupational Safety and Health in the Public Service
- Memorandum of Understanding with British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority to provide medical assessments
- Strengthening of public – private partnerships
This year, the day is being commemorated under the theme: “Safety & Health and the Future of Work.” This year is also the centennial anniversary of the ILO existence and its work to improve Occupational Safety and Health globally.
Mrs. Leonard shared her optimism for the future of safe work in the public service and encouraged all ministries and departments to take time, especially during the week to reflect on various aspects of health and safety as a means of commemorating ILO day in the service and contemplate how each area will work to achieve Government’s commitment of safe work throughout the Public Service.
- Infographic video for ILO Health & Safety day.