Electricity may be the single most beneficial discovery known to man, but this country’s Acting Chief Labour Officer, Victor Felix, has challenged those with the knowledge about working safely around power lines to educate the public on how to protect themselves.
He issued this challenge yesterday, while addressing stakeholders attending a seminar entitled: Promoting Safety around Electricity, and the launch of a public relations campaign to sensitise persons, in the Main Conference Room 2ndFloor, Warrens Office Complex.
The PR campaign is a joint effort between the Labour Department, the Barbados Light and Power, the Barbados Government Information Service and the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health.
Mr. Felix reminded his audience about the dangers of electricity and the incidents of electrical contact which resulted in a range of outcomes, including loss of life; damage to plant and equipment; machinery fires and explosions.
The Acting Chief Labour Officer alluded to persons trying to retrieve kites and pick fruits as those who are frequently exposed to power lines and the probability of risking their lives in the process.
Mr. Felix mentioned an unfortunate incident where an employee was electrocuted while working on a roof. There was also the case of the employee who had to undergo amputations after he encountered a power line which ran across the upper level of a building under construction.
In this connection, Mr. Felix added: “…It is our responsibility as persons who have the knowledge about working safely around power lines to protect those who do not have the knowledge to protect themselves. [By doing this], they will understand that ‘you gotta play it safe around electricity’.”
He continued: “Additionally, we want to make those who are aware of the hazards, a conduit for information to other persons. It is important that we share this information to achieve a reduction in the number of contact incidents. We all can come into contact with electricity sources at one time or the other; understanding how to manage these situations is essential.”
Meanwhile, Communications Coordinator with the Barbados Light and Power Company, Jennifer Blackman, gave an overview of the education campaign on electrical safety. She said at Light and Power, they believed that all injuries are preventable and therefore, the company focused on safety 24 hours a day.
Ms. Blackman encouraged the participants to be ambassadors in their respective departments and to make safety a priority both on and off the job. “That is why we invited you here this morning to work with us – the Ministry of Labour, Barbados Light and Power Company Limited and the Government Information Service – as electrical safety ambassadors.
“Being an ambassador for safety is easy. For example, when GIS begins to run their public service announcements on electrical safety [you can], record them and share them via Whatsapp. Start your meetings with a safety moment every time. This will help everyone to remember to follow procedure, to stay focused and to expand their safety thinking to encompass all aspects of their life,” she advised.