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Safety, Health Are Top Priorities

Safety, Health Are Top Priorities
From Left: Fiji Trades Union Congress national treasurer Agni Deo Singh, Fiji Sugar Corporation Labasa Mill manager Michael Faktaufon and the representative from the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation Industrial Relations unit, Edward Batiweti, at Labasa’s Friendly North Inn on April 20. Photo: Shratika Naidu
April 21
13:31 2018

This year, the World Day for Safety and Health at Work (Safe Day) and the World Day Against Child Labour (WDA­CL) are part of a joint campaign to improve the safety and health of young workers and end child labour.

Fiji Sugar Corporation Labasa mill manager Michael Faktaufon, who was the chief guest at the World Day for Safety and Health at Work workshop and celebration at the Friendly North Inn in Labasa yesterday, said this was not only the time to celebrate but to remem­ber and honour those who continue to face challenges of health and safety at workplaces.

“We are mindful that many of them will not return home and those who will return home will be maimed or categorised as termi­nally ill,” Mr Faktaufon said.

“Some will be lucky or in a for­tunate position to walk away with their lives.

“Young workers, according to In­ternational Labour Organisation (ILO) definition are those within the age group of 15 to 24 years.

These young workers are vulner­able to safety and health risks.

Statistics show that young work­ers are more likely to have a seri­ous accident at work than older adults.

“They may be exposed to poor working conditions leading to the development of occupational ill­nesses while still young or later in life.

“New to the workplace, young peo­ple may lack experience and often lack both physical and psychologi­cal maturity.”

“They may not take seriously enough the risks that they face.

“It is the employer’s responsibil­ity to protect the safety and health of workers and they should pay particular attention to the young workers.

“They must carry out a risk as­sessment to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks before a young person starts work and put in place measures to protect them.

“In turn, all workers, including young workers have a duty of care toward their own and others’ safety.

“They must also comply with any reasonable instructions or safety related policies and procedures.”

Fiji Trades Union Congress na­tional treasurer Agni Deo Singh, who was one of the guest speakers, said it has been recorded world­wide that the young workforce suf­fered 40 percent non-fatal injuries more than the older workforce.

“Fiji is no exception,” Mr Singh said.

“It has been noted overall that many young workers such as those who are in the retail, mechanical, textile industry, agriculture and construction industry get injured within the first six months of work.

“There are many contributing fac­tors that lead to occupational inju­ries and deaths in our workforce.”

FSC Labasa mill

The Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) Labasa mill is reaping the rewards of continuous awareness on the im­portance of work health and safety.

Fiji Sugar Corporation Labasa new mill manager Michael Fak­taufon made this comment while speaking as a chief guest at the World Day for Safety and Health at Work workshop and celebration at the Friendly North Inn in Labasa yesterday.

“In 2009, our total cost of inju­ries, both minor and major, stood at $16,539.26. This figure gradually decreased over the years to the low­est of $1,340 in 2017,” Mr Faktaufon said.

“FSC will continue to improve on its health and safety system to ensure a safer and healthier work­place.”

He told the participants from vari­ous business organisations that in Fiji, employers and other persons conducting a business or under­taking one were governed by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1996 and Fiji Sugar Corporation was no exception.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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