Labour Commissioner Shernel James and Unit Head for Labour Inspections and OSH Lesroy Browne
Labour Commissioner Shernel James and Unit Head for Labour Inspections and OSH Lesroy Browne

Department of Labour, other government institutions partner to carry out labour inspections

From SKNIS 

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The Department of Labour partners with other institutions of government to boost and conduct occupational safety and health (OSH), social and psycho-social inspections at workplaces to ensure a healthier and safer labour force.

Unit Head for Labour Inspection, Occupational Safety and Health Lesroy Browne appeared on the government’s weekly programme, “Working for You”, May 2, noting that the Department of Labour has increased its inspections substantially, expressing that for 2018 alone, the unit has conducted more than 150 inspections so far. He also said that the department works alongside a number of other ministries, departments and institutions to ensure that these inspections are by the book and handled appropriately. Some of these include Ministry of Health, the St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards, Ministry of National Security, Social Services, St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services, Social Security Board and Immigration.

“We do two types of inspections – we do an OSH inspection and we do a social inspection,” said Browne, as he explained that the Labour Inspection unit faced some challenges in the past that are now being rectified with an increase of personnel in the unit to 10 and the acquiring of a vehicle to conduct inspections.

He explained that the inspections are there to notify the employers of any shortcomings that may exist within the work environment and to provide them with information on how to rectify these deficiencies within a specified time.

He also said that on the social front, they speak to employees about their treatment in the work place, ensure that wages – along with overtime – are being paid correctly, and verify that the company is employing people who have a legal right to work.

Labour Commissioner Shernel James also added that there is a third aspect to the inspections that involves psycho-social hazards, including ergonomics, proper work equipment, proper lighting, stress factors and others.

“We look at all these things to ensure that the workplace on a whole is safe and, not only that it is safe, but safe to work in,” she said.