Revisiting the 1692 Earthquake

“The longer it has been since the last (destructive) earthquake, the closer we are to the next.”

Franklin McDonald

The preceding is a brief account of the great Port Royal Earthquake which occurred 328 years ago today. The first Director of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) Franklin McDonald once said, “The longer it has been since the last (destructive) earthquake, the closer we are to the next.”

WorkSafe Global would like to take this opportunity to remind private as well as public sector leaders to reacquaint themselves with the precautions necessary for the island to be prepared before, during and after a destructive earthquake.

Should a destructive earthquake hit Jamaica within the next day or two…. how prepared are you and your family?

Disasters do happen – be prepared!

For more information about preparing for and responding to earthquakes contact Jamaica’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) at http://www.odpem.org.jm/

Reference: https://web.archive.org/web/20091221022507/http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/ger_tsuinfo_2001_v3_no4.pdf

The Future of Work in Jamaica: Safer and Healthier Workplaces

As Jamaica’s drive towards independence and prosperity began to take shape in the middle of the 20th century, manufacturing and mining were seen as the industries that would modernize the country and bring prosperity to the people. Our leaders enacted legislation geared towards the protection of workers’ safety and health and adopted a suite of legislation originating out of the United Kingdom. This included the Factories Act (1943), the Law Reform (Tort-Feasors) Act (1946) and the Mining Act (1947). After Independence, other legislation followed in the Occupier’s Liability Act (1969), the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act (1975) (updated 2014), the Quarries Control Act (1984), the Pesticides Control Act (1987), and the latest being the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act (2015).

While these various pieces of legislation have been on the books, the vast majority of Jamaicans have no idea of their existence. Even if their existence was known, they were crafted so long ago that their effectiveness and applicability in a modern Jamaica would be severely limited.

The country has progressed a far way since the 1940’s. There is a well-developed construction industry and the manufacturing industry – while facing challenges to compete on the world stage – is flourishing. The mining industry also continues to contribute significantly to foreign exchange earnings.

Unfortunately, the country has not kept current with respect to workplace safety and health. We have no measures in place to ensure that government agencies are empowered to enforce existing legislation, or to educate employers on what is required of them. In the meantime, improved technology and automation have created significant changes in working conditions. New workplace safety and health hazards have gone largely unidentified and the risks posed by these hazards have not been assessed. Consequently, no control measures have been put in place to minimize injury, ill-health or environmental damage.

“It’s not only working conditions that have changed over time, it’s the nature of health and safety hazards as well…..And this will continue in the future. With all the transformative technological, demographic and environmental changes shaping a new world of work, it becomes more important than ever to anticipate new and emerging health and safety risks.”

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder

What are some of these new workplace safety and health situations that need to be considered?

Ergonomics 

Safety and health professionals have become increasingly aware of a range of workplace injuries associated with overexertion.  These are often caused by excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching or stretching. The United States’ National Safety Council (NSC) reports that overexertion is the leading (33.5%) cause of workplace injury resulting in days away from work. These injuries have become known as “ergonomic” injuries and have largely arisen as a result of increased demand to keep pace with technology and complete work tasks at an ever-increasing speed.

Radiation

In recent years, Jamaica has accelerated its association with nuclear science. With rapid technological advancements, modern medical radiation equipment is emitting higher radiation doses. The medical use of radiation is the largest man-made contributor to the overall annual radiation dose humans receive.  Radiation is also utilised in manufacturing, imaging at ports of entry and analytical sciences. Now, more than ever, there is a greater likelihood that employees may be exposed to radiation in the workplace.  Adherence to the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act (2015) as well as greater public awareness is therefore critical in managing the risks associated with radiation in Jamaica.

Aging workforce

Recent advances in medicine allow for more effective treatments for medical conditions which would have prevented many persons from working well into their 60’s and 70’s. While individuals in this age group are generally healthier than those in previous generations, there is still a need to make reasonable accommodations for the aging workforce.

Source: https://www.nypl.org/blog/2016/12/20/aging-american-workforce

The design of workstations to reduce postural demands and the provision of equipment to suit the full range of physical characteristics of an individual are among the accommodations that should be made for this group.

Shift work

Increasing numbers of employees are expected to do shift work as industries lengthen working hours in order to optimize outputs and profits. These employees face possible disruption of their circadian rhythm (body clock) giving rise to weight gain, impulsivity, slower thinking, and other physiological and behavioural changes. Fatigue, always a major workplace issue even during regular working hours, is worse for shift workers who are at risk from fatigue-related accidents. The hazards posed by shift work also include the inability to focus, which may lead to mistakes, injuries on the job and poor performance.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

The rapid growth of the BPO industry in Jamaica has not been without its challenges. Because of the heavy concentrations of workers in close proximity to each other, indoor air quality problems usually abound. Employees tend to experience high incidences of upper respiratory tract infection, and maintenance personnel struggle to properly balance ventilation and air conditioning systems. Furthermore, there may be hundreds of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) in use with the associated challenges that their usage brings. Incorrect use of DSE such as PC’s, laptops, tablets and smart phones can lead to pain in the neck, shoulders, backs, arms, wrists and hands as well as fatigue and eye strain.  

Passage of the Jamaica Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2017

There are countless examples of changed working conditions that could be cited. While many workplace improvements could be mentioned, the reality is that in Jamaica, safety and health legislation is lacking, or at best, outdated. With new technologies being adopted, combined with an increasingly litigious society, cooperation from all stakeholders is necessary. Nearly 25 years in the making, the OSH Bill represents Jamaica’s attempt to modernize its  safety and health legislation. This legislation will bring under one umbrella all the disparate pieces of safety legislation in Jamaica. Legislators must hasten to pass and/or update laws designed to protect employees. Employers must discharge their responsibility to create and maintain a safe and healthy work environment and employees must adhere to workplace safety and health policies and procedures developed to protect them. By accomplishing this, Jamaica will indeed become the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business”. 


WorkSafe Global is an occupational safety and health training and consulting company operating out of Jamaica.

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Prevent accidents. Reduce injuries. Grow your business.

W: www.worksafeglobal.com | E: info@worksafeglobal.com

T: 1-876-999-SAFE (1-876-999-7233)

“No Time to Lose” in the Fight Against Occupational Cancers

In observation of World Cancer Day and the Institution of Safety and Health’s (IOSH) “No Time to Lose” Campaign it is important to shed light on work-related cancer issues experienced worldwide. An occupational cancer is one which is either contracted after exposure to a cancer-causing agent (carcinogen) at work or caused by a circumstance or activity at work which may create stress on the body.

1. NTTL-International-Campaign-Flyer-230318-v3According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 9.5 million people worldwide were expected to die from cancer in 2018. Of this number, approximately 742,000 lives were claimed by occupational cancers with skin, lung, breast and bladder cancers being the main contenders.

Attention is most often paid to the more common workplace health and safety issues such as injuries and deaths arising from biological hazards caused by diseases, viruses and parasites. Additionally, physical hazards related to slips/falls, confined spaces or the absence of personal protective equipment (PPE) often get focused consideration. However, cancer remains a rarely- mentioned, silent killer, accounting for surprisingly more deaths than better-known workplace health and safety hazards.

According to IOSH, there are over 50 known substances that have implications in work-related cancers such as asbestos, pesticides, silica dust, mineral oils, coal tars and diesel fumes. However, a paper published in an international environmental health journal – Environmental Health Perspectives – placed more horrific figures of occupational carcinogens to the fore. It concluded that 28 agents were definite occupational carcinogens, 27 agents were probable occupational carcinogens and another 113 agents were listed as being possible occupational carcinogens. These carcinogens have taken quite a toll on the workforce of many countries worldwide. See the description, workers at risk and cancers caused by a few of the most popular carcinogens below:

Workers and Workplace Carcinogens

With such copious amounts of carcinogens present in the work world it is essential that the following measures be put in place in order to keep occupational cancer at bay:

  • If working with carcinogenic materials is inevitable, exposed workers should be made aware of the dangers, be properly equipped with appropriate PPE and efficiently trained in the handling of the material.
  • The implementation of a permit system for the closest possible control of carcinogenic substances.
  • The formulation of strict and explicit monitoring/medical examination requirements by the government for use by all agencies involved in carcinogen susceptible industries.
  • Fast and efficient treatment of any cancer that is found after monitoring is don

Employers and workers alike need to unite and join us now in the fight against cancer as there is “No Time to Lose!”

Make a personal commitment to act in the fight against workplace-related cancer – “I Am and I Will”

#WorldCancerDay #NoTimeToLose #OccupationalCancer #NTTL #IAmAndIWill

8 Things You Need To Do To Prepare for a Hurricane on a Construction Site

September 12, 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of Hurricane Gilbert’s destructive passage over Jamaica. Over the years, much has been documented about the socio-economic impact of natural disasters not only on Jamaica, but also on other fragile Caribbean economies. As much as has been documented however, one of the most neglected yet critical sectors of the Caribbean economies is undoubtedly that of the construction industry.800px-Gilbert_1988-09-12_1630Z

It’s imperative to begin construction site hurricane planning efforts early, and to be as prepared as possible prior to any storm. Adequate preparation can help ensure the safety of not only project and onsite teams, but also of the surrounding communities.

As the 2018 hurricane season begins to heat up, here are some recommendations that, if acted upon speedily, could help reduce losses:

  1. Develop and Review a Hurricane Preparedness and Safety Plan

As early as April or May, and certainly prior to the start of the hurricane season, the project contractor should have provided the team with a hurricane preparedness and safety plan. This plan should have been reviewed with the entire team and the owner. This document, outlining the exact timeline and steps the contractor would take to safely secure the project site in the event of a storm, would be invaluable in mitigating loss and damage. This integrated process would be especially important when dealing with renovation projects, exterior upgrades or projects that connect new construction to existing facilities. If a plan has not yet been prepared, this activity should be undertaken as a matter of the highest priority.

It’s critical that every member of the project team realize the importance of safety and how to prevent onsite incidents. Be sure to address potential safety hazards so the team lead can fix the issue as quickly as possible.

Once the storm hits the project site, caution needs to be exercised and team members riding out the storm should stay inside. Doing otherwise could put them at risk. Good judgement and common sense should be the watch words and a “safety first “culture should be exemplified.

  1. Create a Construction Site Risk Register

In the event of a storm approaching, all potential risks and impacts on the construction site should be assessed and documented in a risk register. This information should be shared with all stakeholders.

The risk register should include cost impacts if stored materials are compromised due to storm damage. Having these risks identified early will give you supporting documentation to prepare for added project costs, schedule impacts incurred because of a storm or an insurance claim, if needed.

  1. Establish a Ride-out Team

Work with the general contractor and subcontractors to create a ride-out team during a hurricane. This team will stay at the facility throughout the duration of the storm. For renovation projects, electrical and mechanical subcontractors typically will be familiar with existing hospital systems and can play a critical support role in the event of utility failures.

They can provide additional reinforcement to the facility maintenance team, connecting temporary equipment such as generators and chillers, as well as aid in securing the facility’s exterior (e.g. boarding windows and placing sand bags). The ride-out team will work with the facility team after the general contractor has completed activities outlined in the hurricane preparedness plan and can help restore normalcy to the facility after the storm.

Traffic on hurricane evacuation routes will be at a standstill for those who wait until the last minute to leave. Often, those who wait end up getting stuck in their vehicles as the storm approaches, which can leave them in a life-threatening predicament. Make travel choices early and stick to the plan.

  1. Evaluate Tower Crane Risks

Communicate clearly to project leadership the risks of having tower cranes on the project site during a storm and be prepared for push-backs. Tower cranes can’t be removed quickly; they require extensive planning, scheduling and time to disassemble.

Have the general contractor and subcontractor provide wind ratings for the cranes and an action plan for proper protection. The subcontractor should also provide an engineering report for structural integrity. All this information should be provided to project stakeholders, so they understand the risks and precautions that need to be taken to ensure the tower cranes remain standing.

  1. Prepare Your Home for the Storm and Complete a Personal/Family Evacuation Plan

Being prepared for a storm on your project site is important, but preparing your home and family is even more important. Secure the residence and board up windows. An evacuation plan should include having vehicles filled with gas and preparing a kit with all the necessary supplies (e.g., water, food, flashlight, extra batteries and medications).

The ODPEM and the Met Office’s websites are great resources to review to make sure your home and family stay safe.

  1. Monitor Reports and Local Announcements

Be sure to monitor media reports, and other websites (e.g. National Hurricane Center, the Weather Channel) for updates, and follow local ODPEM recommendations for evacuation announcements. These sites will keep the team updated on the latest storm developments, storm tracking and local safety recommendations.

Remember, it’s impossible to help keep others safe if you yourself are in danger. Safety always comes before service.

  1. Document all Work in Progress and take inventory of Materials and Onsite Teams

Along with the risk register, documenting all work currently in progress, and taking an inventory of materials and onsite teams, will help when assessing the job-site for damage after the hurricane. It is also a good idea to take pictures capturing as many details as possible. This documentation should be saved and submitted in the event an insurance claim needs to be filed.

  1. Request Access to the Facilities Disaster Communications Team

With the job-site secure and shut down, be sure the ride-out team is integrated into the facilities hurricane operations and communications. This will keep the team updated on what’s going on inside the facility and help disperse the team where needed.

Ride-out project managers should be the main point of contact between the project team and the facility’s emergency command center. This line of communication is critical as the storm approaches.

AFTER THE STORM

After the hurricane has passed, assess the construction damage, manpower costs and schedule impact. Keep in mind the construction contractors and subcontractors are affected personally by the storm, and it may take several weeks to get the project fully staffed in the aftermath.

At this point, the risk register and documentation will be useful. If done correctly, most issues have been identified and will only need updating. Remember, all this documentation will need to be submitted to the owner or stakeholders to provide insight as to how the hurricane impacted the project.

There may be two unknown schedule impacts to be aware of:

  1. Reduced manpower: Depending on the severity of the storm, workers may be spending time away from the project to support their family and personal property. If they are trade workers that travel, they may not be able to physically return to the project.
  2. Product/material distribution and procurement: Distribution routes, distribution facilities and materials suppliers may be damaged or impacted by the storm, causing unexpected delays to deliveries.

CONCLUSION

In closing, remember not to panic. By working closely with the team, communicating with staff, preparing the construction site and keeping safety as the number one priority, then you are as prepared as possible. Although it’s impossible to control severe weather systems, it is possible to minimize their negative impact.

Plan early and stay safe.


WorkSafe Global comprises a team of occupational safety and health specialists dedicated to improving workplace productivity and profitability through the creation and maintenance of safe systems of work. To learn more about our team and what we do, click here.

Keep safe! Keep healthy!

The Team at WorkSafe Global


WorkSafe Global is an occupational safety and health training and consulting company operating out of Jamaica.

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Prevent accidents. Reduce injuries. Grow your business.

W: www.worksafeglobal.com | E: info@worksafeglobal.com

T: 1-876-999-SAFE (1-876-999-7233)

Tsunami warning! What do I do now?

Shortly before 10 p.m. EST on Tuesday January 8, one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the Caribbean in recent times struck off the coast of Honduras, setting off tsunami warnings that were canceled about an hour later.

tsunamiwarninggenericgraphicwsTsunami centers issued advisories and warnings for Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, cautioning that sea levels could rise from a foot to 3 feet (0.3 to 1 meter) above normal, but thankfully,  no tsunami materialized.

Tuesday’s 7.6 magnitude earthquake was one of the largest to hit the Caribbean in recorded history. The 2010 quake that devastated Haiti was by contrast, a magnitude 7.0. It is worthwhile remembering that that earthquake, in addition to smashing buildings and killing more than 200,000 people, produced two 3-metre tsunamis.

One of the terrifying yet largely unanswered questions in people’s mind is “Had there indeed been a tsunami generated by last Tuesday night’s quake, what should I have done?”

“Had there indeed been a tsunami generated by last Tuesday night’s quake, what should I have done?”

The following recommendations are by no means exhaustive, but are among the actions we suggest you should take after a tsunami warning has been issued.

If you are near the coastline

  • Immediately head for higher ground
  • Do not assume you have time – tsunamis may reach speeds of up to 500 miles per hour
  • This means that had there been a tsunami generated by last Tuesday night’s event, Jamaicans would have had arguably less than an hour to evacuate from areas such as Montego Bay, Kingston, Port Royal, Negril, St.Ann’s Bay, Old Harbour Bay and Ocho Rios
  • Do not assume that there will be only one wave, nor that the first wave will necessarily be the most damaging.
  • Keep tuned to the local (and if possible overseas) radio and cable stations
  • Do not return to coastal areas until advised by the ODPEM

If you are far enough inland:

  • Consider messaging family/friends who may live or work in vulnerable communities.
  • Bear in mind that communication systems may well be overwhelmed by traffic volumes.
  • Keep tuned to the local (and if possible overseas) radio and cable stations
  • Do not venture into affected areas as you may interfere with the work of the emergency response crews

For more information about preparing for and responding to tsunami warnings in your area, contact Jamaica’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) at http://www.odpem.org.jm/

To learn more about tsunamis, you may visit the following sites:


WorkSafe Global comprises a team of occupational safety and health specialists dedicated to improving workplace productivity and profitability through the creation and maintenance of safe systems of work. To learn more about our team and what we do, click here.

Keep safe! Keep healthy!

The Team at WorkSafe Global


WorkSafe Global is an occupational safety and health training and consulting company operating out of Jamaica.

Worksafe PNG_small

Prevent accidents. Reduce injuries. Grow your business.

W: www.worksafeglobal.com | E: info@worksafeglobal.com

T: 1-876-999-SAFE (1-876-999-7233)

Clarendon Distillers worker falls in tank and dies

slippery-when-wet-by-chickenmeister-on-deviantart-iryf0r-clipartRegrettably another Jamaican worker has died while at work. We do not yet now the circumstances under which 27 year old Hartley Allen, who worked at the plant as an electrical engineer fell into the tank container dunder. (Source: http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/clarendon-distillers-worker-dies-after-falling-into-tank)

Irrespective of the circumstances we are saddened by the passing and hope that a prompt and thorough investigation is undertaken.

Kingston LPG explosion is a call to action

 

gasfired20161016ng
Aftermath of the explosion on Jacques Road, Kingston, Jamaica – Read more at Jamaica Gleaner

On October 16, 2016, there was an explosion at an allegedly illegal LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) filling plant that seriously injured 5 people and damaged property. The tragic incident, which took place on Jacques Road, off Mountain View Avenue in Kingston Jamaica, should serve as a timely reminder of the dangers posed by LPG. LPG has a double whammy of hazardous properties: (1) being stored under high pressure and (2) being extremely flammable. Each of these properties on its own is quite dangerous. LPG cylinders may be found in many Jamaican homes and businesses. While the incident is still being investigated, we feel it wise to remind our readers about the safe storage and handling of LPG cylinders.

 

General Safety Tips for Handling and Storage of LPG Cylinders

  • Always keep the cylinder in a vertical position with the valve on top.
  • Always install the cylinder at ground level. The stove should be at a higher level than the cylinder.
  • Do not keep cylinder exposed to sun, rain, dust or heat.
  • Check for leaks by using soapy water along the gas pipeline and fittings. Where there is a leak the soapy water will form bubbles indicating the presence of gas. Shut off all heat sources and call your LPG provider.

When buying cylinders

  • Always buy from authorised dealers/franchisees. You can usually find a list of authorised dealers/franchisees from the marketer/distributor’s website.
  • Ensure that the company seal and safety cap are in place when the cylinder is being delivered. If the seal is broken, do not accept the cylinder.

When cooking

  • Ensure that the kitchen is well-ventilated but also guard against draughts that may put out the flame while cooking, thereby causing a leak.
  • Never leave cooking unattended for extended periods as overflows could also extinguish the flame and result in a gas leak.
  • Keep flammables and combustibles (e.g. plastics and kitchen towels) away from the flame.
  • Turn the regulator knob to OFF if the cylinder is not in use.

Here are a few gas related and explosion incidents that have occured in Jamaica

Despite the serious injuries, it is fortunate that there were no fatalities in this incident. Regrettably, we no have to strike out that sentence as one of the men involved in the incident has succumbed to his injuries. We have also learned that local LPG companies are planning to meet this week to review the incident and have promised to issue a joint statement on the safety and security practices in the industry. We look forward to the report so that we may all learn how to prevent an incident such as this in Jamaica.

Sources:

WorkSafe Global comprises a team of occupational safety and health specialists dedicated to improving workplace productivity and profitability through the creation and maintenance of safe systems of work. To learn more about our team and what we do, click here.

Keep safe! Keep healthy!

The Team at WorkSafe Global


WorkSafe Global is an occupational safety and health training and consulting company operating out of Jamaica.

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Prevent accidents. Reduce injuries. Grow your business.

W: www.worksafeglobal.com | E: info@worksafeglobal.com

T: 1-876-999-SAFE (1-876-999-7233)

Noxious fumes, gases or vapours?

“Noxious fumes, gases or vapours?” That is the question that has us a bit perplexed since yesterday evening when it was reported that the Cornwall Regional Hospital located in Montego Bay, Jamaica would only be taking urgent cases at the nearby Mt. Salem Health Centre. Non-urgent cases are being sent to their respective health centres.

cornwall_regional_hospital

Read full article here – http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20161004/only-emergency-cases-cornwall-regional-hospital-noxious-fumes-continue

The cause of this problem is cited as “noxious fumes” and has been plaguing the institution for some time. Last week, the first three floors of the 10-floor institution were closed. The hospital, has once again, suspended or relocated the operations on these floors which house, among other things, the Accident and Emergency Unit, the pharmacy, the X-ray (diagnostic imaging) department and the laboratory.

What are ‘noxious fumes’?

By definition, noxious means anything that may be harmful or injurious. While the report does not state the properties of the suspected substance(s) that render it harmful, we may only assume that the occupants were already adversely affected.

Fumes, vapours and gases

Very often, airborne contaminants are referred to as fumes. And while a fume must be airborne, not all airborne materials are fumes. Let’s take a look at the differences below:

Fumes: heated solid particles that are temporarily suspended in the air. Smoke is an example of a fume. You may also find fumes emitted when materials are heated during welding.

Vapours: gaseous form of a liquid which arises because of a change in its temperature and/or pressure. When water is heated it forms water vapour as opposed to water gas. Under ‘normal’ conditions, the water would remain in its liquid state.

Gases: substances that exist in the gaseous phase under ‘normal’ conditions of temperature and pressure. Oxygen, nitrogen, helium and carbon dioxide are all considered gases.

In concluding, and with the limited information in the article to inform us, it is highly unlikely that a fume is the airborne contaminant in this scenario. It is far more likely that there is a chemical leak (vapour or gas) or that the air intake is compromised. You can read about our hypothesis on how this may happen here. We hope for a speedy resolution of this issue in an institution that provides such critical services to the western region.

WorkSafe Global comprises a team of occupational safety and health specialists dedicated to improving workplace productivity and profitability through the creation and maintenance of safe systems of work. To learn more about our team and what we do, click here.

Keep safe! Keep healthy!

The Team at WorkSafe Global


WorkSafe Global is an occupational safety and health training and consulting company operating out of Jamaica.

Worksafe PNG_small

Prevent accidents. Reduce injuries. Grow your business.

W: www.worksafeglobal.com | E: info@worksafeglobal.com

T: 1-876-999-SAFE (1-876-999-7233)

 

Hurricane Prep Reminders for your workplace

Hurricane Matthew is on his way! As early as Saturday, we could be singing, “Rain ah fall, breeze ah blow”…you know the rest. As we reflected on Hurricane Gilbert’s passing a few weeks ago, we created the timeline of a disaster infographic below. Like Gilbert, no one knew who Matthew was 5 days before it made landfall. Matthew could very well change his mind, strength, shape and form over the next few days. Not withstanding this, it is wise to make the adequate preparations. Here are a few reminders of things you can do now to facilitate a smooth the resumption of work after the storm.

1. Backup all data and secure your files
Data loss can be a major source of disruption to your business. It is advisable to make multiple copies of all your computer files and data. We now have cloud storage so this is much easier to do. You should also secure physical records and, where possible, store off the premises. Remember to lock all drawers and file cabinets.

2. Update Contact Information
You will need to communicate with your employees after the storm has passed. Ensure that you have up-to-date contact information and contingency plans for communication in the absence of mobile phones and electricity.
3. Keep the Equipment Dry and Safe
Unplug all electrical equipment to protect them power surges that might arise when the power is restored. Do not leave electrical equipment on the floor. Place them above ground level and cover with waterproof material such as garbage bags.

4. Power Up
Charge all laptops, phones and rechargeable equipment.  Ensure that you have batteries for battery-operated equipment. Historically it can take days or even weeks for power to be restored after the storm has passed.

5. Get Home Safely
Your emergency plan would have indicated the key personnel (if any) required to stay on-site during the storm. Complete preparation activities early so that everyone will be able to leave in time to prepare their homes and families for the hurricane.

For more hurricane readiness tips we recommend the following sites:

To track the system and view weather updates:

We hope that you will safely weather the storm and be in a position to get back to business soon thereafter.

WorkSafe Global comprises a team of occupational safety and health specialists dedicated to improving workplace productivity and profitability through the creation and maintenance of safe systems of work. To learn more about our team and what we do, click here.

Keep safe!

The Team at WorkSafe Global


WorkSafe Global is an occupational safety and health training and consulting company operating out of Jamaica.

Worksafe PNG_small

Prevent accidents. Reduce injuries. Grow your business.W: www.worksafeglobal.com | E: info@worksafeglobal.com

T: 1-876-999-SAFE (1-876-999-7233)

Safety Standards Needed for Jamaica

In the wake of yesterday’s unfortunate incident at the Royalton in Negril, attention is once again being focussed on the continued inaction by successive governments to enact the long-awaited OSH legislation in Jamaica.

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Responders on site at Royalton Building Collapse

Source: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20160511/tourism-ministry-calls-emergency-meeting-over-royalton-building-collapse

Seasoned occupational safety and health professionals as well as attorneys-at -law will readily point to the duty of care owed by every employer to his employees. This legislation has been increasingly utilized over the years as the primary means whereby those injured on the job have received compensation arising from negligence by their employer.

It is not that Jamaica is without laws that would address and possibly prevent incidents such as that which happened at the Royalton. The Building Operations and Works of Engineering Construction (BOWEC), for instance, sets out specific guidelines for construction site activities  in Jamaica. In spite of this regulation, industry challenges include:

1. Ignorance of the Law

In many cases, neither employer nor worker has more than a rudimentary understanding of the occupational safety and health requirements imposed by the existing Factories Act and its accompanying regulations. As a result, hazards on worksites go largely unidentified and consequently unresolved.

2. Lack of Enforcement

There is a significant resource constraint with respect to the enforcing of those safety standards that currently exist. The Occupational Safety and Health Department within the Ministry of Labour is severely understaffed and cannot effectively execute its mandate of monitoring and enforcing the requirements of the Factories Act and its accompanying regulations.

3. Absence of Competent Personnel

Finally, not many construction sites employ a safety professional whose duty it would be to identify and anticipate all hazards, ensure employees receive appropriate safety-related training, plan every workplace activity with safety in mind and halt any activity which does not conform to the BOWEC regulations and/or best industry practices.   

In order to address the deficiencies outlined above, there are several steps that we need to take to remedy the current situation.

A. Enact the proposed Occupational Safety and Health legislation

We will need to speedily enact the proposed Occupational Safety and Health legislation and increase public awareness of the existing legal framework. Awaiting the passage of legislation for 21 years is a long time and meanwhile several workers’ lives have been lost. Many more have been seriously injured.

B. Provide adequate resources for the Ministry of Labour’s OSH department.

The Ministry of Labour’s OSH team needs to be adequately resourced in terms of its human capacity, funding for research, education, information and training.

C. Construction Safety Passport

The implementation of the proposed Construction Safety Passport for all construction workers needs to be expedited. Last year, the Ministry of Labour announced an imminent  Construction Safety Passport which would certify all workers on construction sites and provide a guarantee that “the workers are competent and equipped to operate safely on sites”.

D. Provide Competent Safety Staff

The provision of competent personnel is not just a requirement under the Factories’ Act but is also a duty that the employer owes to the employee. Employing appropriately trained and certified  personnel can literally be the difference between life and death.


WorkSafe Global is an occupational safety and health training and consulting company operating out of Jamaica.

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W: www.worksafeglobal.com | E: info@worksafeglobal.com

T: 1-876-841-7899 or 1-876-999-SAFE (1-876-999-7233)