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Jul 17, 2014

OSH Bill Under Discussion by Economic Development Committee

Amparo Masson

In January 2014 the Occupational Safety and Health Bill was tabled in the House of Representatives. For the unions who pushed the bill, the road was a long one, and success was hard fought. But the fight isn’t over yet. The bill is focused on the safety and protection of workers, and the reality is that it comes at a cost to the employer. While those employers aren’t exactly saying that the bottom line is more important that workers’ safety, the bottom line is a concern, and there has been some resistance from the private sector. Today Director of Public/Private Sector Dialogue Amparo Masson told News five that the OSH Bill is under discussion by the Economic Development Council.

 

Amparo Masson, Director, Public/Private Sector Dialogue

“The Economic Development Council…five of the ten representatives are government officials, C.E.O.s…five are private sector – and certainly the concerns are there. We discuss private sector…we all put on the table what their concerns are and I think that it’s not against the OSH Bill, it’s against certain segments that really, even for small businesses or potential small businesses, to really enter it can be really expensive. So from that angle is where the concern really comes from, not necessarily having a decent workplace policy or program or that kind of thing. The Economic Development Council is not a decision-making…it is more an advisory body. I think we’ve discussed the concerns with the OSH Bill. I don’t know if we are at a point where we will say stop it. We’re hoping that the dialogue will continue between all the parties, so that whatever the concerns are…and my view is that the private sector has been doing an excellent job in trying to push its concerns forward, so I’m hoping that those will get addressed, and the OSH will pass after the concerns are dealt with.”

 

As we stated, the Council is made up only of government and private sector representation. But there is a move to get the Council institutionalized within the Ministry of Finance. Masson says that may mean that the Civil Society would be looked at in some advisory capacity in the future.

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