Safety Officer at ACE Engineering Ltd, Raelene Bruney, is of the opinion that one of the deterrents that Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) faces, is the high cost of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“I believe that a strategy should not be built without reference to the need for enhanced PPE use and accessibility to Personal Protective Equipment,” Bruney said at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Builders and Contractors Association of Dominica (BCAD) recently.
“I do most of the purchasing for ACE when it comes to PPE and I can tell you that if you find equipment that you want, you lucky at a high price, if you find it at a low price, you are even luckier and also if you choose to order it on your own, the duties that are charged to that is very discouraging.”
According to the Safety Officer, the cost and availability of PPE is important.
“You have to go to six different stores to find out if they have, let’s say, respirators and respirators that are not even certified. That is one hindrance I find,” Bruney pointed out.
Another significant area, she noted, was the need to inform employees as to why it is important to use PPE’s at all times.
“Tell him why he needs to wear his glasses, tell him why he needs to wear his ear plugs, show him why, show him videos of accidents. That way he will think for himself and know that he needs to protect himself. So by empowering the employee it will also help to improve the safety culture of the company.”
Meanwhile District Environmental Health Officer, Isabella Charles-John, noted that a health and safety culture starts from the top.
“Because employees have to see that management is committed to their health and safety, (first), leadership from management and then employees will follow.”
She said the provision of resources and training of employees is an area of responsibility for management, she advised.