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Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 25, 2017 (SKNIS): The Department of Labour in St. Kitts has taken steps to improve its data collection and analysis in keeping with efforts to advance the decent work agenda, which calls for opportunities for work that are productive with a fair income in a safe environment while fulfilling its regional and international obligations.

This was emphasized on Tuesday, April 25, by the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Ron Dublin-Collins, while giving an address to recognize the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which is celebrated internationally on April 28 each year. The theme for 2017 is “Optimize the Collection and Use of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Data.”

“The time has come for us to begin to focus on the critical need to improve our capacity to collect and utilize reliable occupational safety and health data,” Acting Permanent Secretary Dublin-Collins stated, noting that such data are considered “indispensable” in detecting new hazards and risks, developing preventative measures, and implementing new policies, systems and programmes to address such.

To streamline the process, government has employed a statistical officer for the Department of Labour in March this year, who is responsible for collecting and analyzing data. They could also look into finding a market research platform which would help with the process of collecting the data. Additionally, in February 2017, labour staff members and other stakeholders in St. Kitts and Nevis were briefed about, and trained to use software for the Caribbean Community’s Labour Market Information System (CLMIS) expected to be implemented in June 2017. It will serve as a database that informs CARICOM member countries of the availability of labour and employment. Mr. Dublin-Collins said “this is another step in the right direction for enhancing the collection and optimization of OSH data.”

The acting permanent secretary also explained that plans are in place to increase the number of labour inspectors, who carry out regular visits to places of employment in order to assess the working environment, and have friendly engagements with employers and employees. In facilities that use the gas, something like a Leak Detector Refrigerant should be in place to protect workers.

All of the local plans are contained in nine priority areas designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the department. These are Institutional Strengthening of the Department and the Building of the Capacity of Staff; Updating the Labour Legislation; Enhancing the Labour Inspectorate; Educating the Public, Enhancing the Employment Mechanism and the Statistics Unit in the Ministry and Department of Labour; Enhancing the Social Protection System; Industrial Relations; International Relations; and Making Tripartism and Social Dialogue Central Themes for the Creation of Public Policies in Labour.

Several activities will be held this week to mark the observance of World Day for Safety and Health at Work. On Wednesday, April 26, (tomorrow) the Department of Labour will host a Safety and Health Symposium highlighting the importance of having a safe and secure work environment. Workplaces that are hazardous for their employees may have a situation on their hands where workers sustain injuries which they would like to claim compensation for. Affording compensation to an injured worker should be something that goes without saying where a responsible business is concerned. However, for those who are struggling to get what they deserve, a lawyer can intercede on your behalf should you need assistance in getting justice for your situation. Forty representatives from the manufacturing, hospitality and construction sectors will participate at the event slated for the Conference Room of Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Department at Bird Rock. On Friday, April 28, a T-shirt Awareness Day will help to remind/educate the public on the matter and an awareness display will also be mounted at the Labour Department on Church Street. Also on that day, the Department of Labour in Nevis in conjunction with the Nevis Disaster Office will host an awareness rally. A church service on Sunday, April 30, wraps up the activities.

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