A new package of regulations governing workers’ safety in the oil and gas sector is being crafted, Occupational Safety and Health Consultant at the Ministry of Social Protection, Gwyneth King said Wednesday.
She made the disclosure at a Health, Safety, Security and Environment Conference and Exhibition hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce of Guyana in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago.
Ms. King says the International Labour Organisation is expected to assist government in formulating the oil and gas regulations which will be implemented under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
“The oil and gas sector, which is new to us, will not be left out of it all. While the Occupational Safety and Health Act makes provision for all employers to comply with safety and health requirements in the workplace, we would still need to have oil and gas regulations that are specific to that sector,” she said.
The Health, Safety, Security and Environment Conference and Exhibition, which was held at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown, also heard King say that Joint Workplace Safety and Health regulations have been already approved by Cabinet.
From all accounts, companies in the oil and gas sector are seeking approval of their occupational safety and health regime from the Ministry of Social Protection because international companies would not do business with other entities and countries that have poor occupational safety and health practices.
“We are experiencing that in Guyana because we have a number of companies coming to us looking for safety and health compliance and this is due to their interaction with the new oil and gas sector so we have a set of local content providers and they need that because the oil sector would not do business with them unless they are safety and health compliant,” she said.
The 1999 Occupational Safety and Health Act is expected to be overhauled, and already a report is being prepared following talks with the Guyana Energy Agency, Trades Union Congress and the Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry.
For the past three years, the Occupational Safety and Health unit has been removed from the Department of Labour and made a separate entity under the umbrella of the Ministry of Social Protection.