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News - Minister Walters Welcomes a New NACOSH
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Labour News.

Minister Walters Welcomes a New NACOSH

By Erika Watson, Ministry of Labour

On September 9th, 2008, Senator the Hon. Arni B Walters, Minister of State, Ministry of Labour & Civil Service, officially welcomed the newest members of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) who were recently appointed in July, 2008. With the world changing so rapidly in an environment of global markets, growing technologies and increased international regulations and standards, the dynamic and transient nature of work have added complexity to the challenge of ensuring a healthy and safe workplace for all. Today, employees are exposed to an array of potential workplace risks and hazards which could increase incidences of occupational diseases, accidents or fatalities. These developments have reemphasized the need for an effective occupational safety and health system to ensure that all employees are protected from potential work related injuries and fatalities and occupational illnesses and diseases. It is within this context that Minister Walters emphasized that the new NACOSH has a great deal of work ahead particularly as it relates to the new Safety and Health at Work Act, 2005 which will replace the existing Factories Act as the principal piece of legislation in Barbados on the issues of occupational safety and health.

Minister Urges NACOSH to Meet New Challenges


Minister Walters stressed that NACOSH would have to meet a number of new challenges that exist today in the industrial environment. Recently, occupational safety and health (OSH) has taken on a number of new dimensions. There has been growing emphasis on ergonomics which involves finding the best ‘fit’ between people and their work to minimize the incidence of injuries as well as to maximize productivity and performance. With a focus on the employee’s safety, level of comfort, ease of use of equipment, and the aesthetics of the workplace environment, ergonomics takes into account an employee’s capabilities and limitations.

Furthermore, the scope of OSH has also been expanded to include a number of psycho-social issues such as stress management and violence at work. HIV/AIDS in the workplace, together with the potential impacts of non-communicable diseases, have also become new focal points for safety and health organizations across the globe. These realities in the ever changing work environment create new areas for consultations and discussions within NACOSH.

The Minister also highlighted the fact that another area of interest to NACOSH is the CARIFORUM-European Union’s Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Under this trade agreement, participating states should not seek to increase their competitiveness and foreign direct investment by lowering safety and health standards. As a signatory state to this agreement, Barbados will have to ensure that it can effectively administer its occupational safety and health standards consistent with its treaty obligations.
Article 6 of the Agreement requires that participating states cooperate in the areas of:

  1. exchange of information on the respective social and labour legislation and related policies, regulations and other measures;
  2. the formulation of national social and labour legislation and the strengthening of existing legislation, as well as mechanisms for social dialogue, including measures aimed at promoting the Decent Work Agenda as defined by the ILO;
  3. educational and awareness-raising programmes, including skills training and policies for labour market adjustment, and the raising of awareness regarding health and safety responsibilities, employee rights and employers’ responsibilities; and
  4. enforcement of adherence to national legislation and work regulation, including training and capacity building initiatives of labour inspectors, and promoting corporate social responsibility through public information and reporting.

The EPA adds to the international commitments under the ILO Conventions and international agreements to which Barbados is already a party. NACOSH is an integral part of the OSH machinery which strives to meet these obligations.

Everyone Must Play Their Part


The new OSH legislation, once proclaimed, defines the legal obligations of both employers and employees. Employees are personally responsible for their own occupational safety and health requirements by engaging in all necessary precautions for themselves and others including the correct use of personal protective equipment. Employees also have a duty to fully cooperate with the employer in relation to safety management and to report any OSH contraventions observed.

For employers, their obligations include providing adequate instructions, training and supervision of employees regarding any machine, equipment, tool or process with which they may be required to work. Employers are also required to conduct risk assessments, as well as to provide safe places of work with suitable access and egress, safe systems of work and adequate supervision.

As a new workplace safety and health ethos is being established, NACOSH must build public awareness to sensitize employers and employees about their rights and responsibilities under the new OSH legislation. This is an integral part of its mandate to formulate a public education programme and to liaise with relevant agencies in the coordination of activities on matters pertaining to OSH.

A Collaborative Effort

Globalization, changing international trade agreements and the growing dimensions of OSH make it even more crucial to have appropriate mechanisms in place to protect employees, who will become increasingly susceptible to changing economic conditions. It will take a strong collaborative effort between NACOSH, the Occupational Safety and Health Section and the wider Labour Department with the Ministry of Labour to work arduously together to meet these new challenges and to ensure the protection of all Barbadian workers.



Effective March, 1st, 2008, NACOSH fell under the new leadership of Gregory Hazzard, who was appointed as Chairman and Harold Oxley,who was appointed as Deputy Chairman.
Chairman, NACOSH
Gregory F. Hazzard is a qualified civil engineer who has over fifteen years experience in the field, working his way up from a Technical Officer for the Education Project Implementation Unit, Barbados to a partner and Director of Mahy.Ridley. Hazzard Engineers Ltd.

Mr. Hazzard graduated from the University of Manchester of the United Kingdom with a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Civil Engineering. He later developed his expertise at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, where he earned his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) where he made the Dean’s Honour List. His educational accolades also include the Aubrey Collymore Scholarship and the Barbadian Fellowship at Concordia Insurance Corporation, Canada.

As a professional engineer, Mr. Hazzard has significant experience in the design of civil works such as roads, spread and piled foundations, jetties, sea defence works and has supervised quality control inspections of civil and building works. He therefore has firsthand experience with worksite safety measures and a practical understanding and appreciation of occupational safety and health. He was therefore asked to act as the representative for the construction industry for NACOSH from 1997 until taking up the reigns as Chairman.

Harold Oxley, BSc MSc (Distinction) LFOH CMIOSH


Deputy Chairman, NACOSH
Harold Oxley is an Occupational Safety, Health and Hygiene professional with over 20 years experience in the field, and is currently the Regional Managing Director – Caribbean and Central America of REA Envirohealth International and President of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene Consultants Inc. Mr.Oxley is a graduate of the former British Institute of Occupational Hygienists (BIOH) and is currently a registered occupational hygienist with the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), where he has attained a Certificate of Operational Competence and the grade of Licentiate in the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene (LFOH). In addition he is an affiliate of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist (ACGIH), the International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA), a Chartered Member of the UK Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (CMIOSH) and a Member of the International Executive Guild. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degree from the University of the West Indies, a Master of Science (MSc) Degree in Occupational Hygiene with Distinction from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a Certificate in “Construction Safety & Health Principles” from the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a certificate in “Basic Machine Shop Engineering” from the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and certificates in both “Public Personnel Management” and “Small Business Management” from the Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity (BIMAP) In his former posts as a “Factory Inspector” and later the “Senior Factory Inspector” in the Labour Department of Barbados, Mr. Oxley has been intimately involved in the drafting of the ‘Safety and Health at Work Act 2005’, its Regulations and other legislation. With his extensive knowledge of occupational safety and health and his passion for the environment, Mr. Oxley was appointed as Deputy Chairman of NACOSH, for which he served as a member for over 12 years.

What is NACOSH (Please have this section highlighted in a box)


In Barbados, an integral component of the OSH system is the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) which facilitates social dialogue on occupational safety and health issues in Barbados.

NACOSH was established in 1983 in accordance with the provisions of the Factories Act, 1982. The Terms of Reference defining NACOSH’s mandate are as follows:

  1. To make recommendations on matters referred to it by the Minister, submitted to it by interested parties or pursued by the Committee by its own initiative.
  2. To advise the Minister on programmes in the field of occupational safety, health and hygiene.
  3. To advise the Minister on policies and procedures in standard setting and in the development and review of Regulations and guidelines to be used by the Government.
  4. To review and make recommendations to the Minister on the introduction of new processes or substances in the workplace.
  5. To review and make recommendations with regard to the safety, health and welfare arrangements for specific occupational groups and in areas where there are no formal health and safety programmes; or where such programmes are judged to be inadequate.

NACOSH currently consists of the following members:

  • Mr. Gregory Hazzard- Chairman
  • Mr. Harold Oxley- Deputy Chairman
  • The Chief Labour Officer or Nominee
  • The Senior Safety and Health Officer, Labour Department
  • The Chief Agricultural Officer or Nominee
  • A Representative of the Barbados Fire Service
  • The Director, National Insurance Department or Nominee
  • A Representative of the Ministry of Health
  • A Representative of the Environmental Protection Department
  • The Director of the Barbados National Standards Institution or Nominee
  • A Representative of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados
  • A Representative of the Barbados Small Business Association
  • A Representative of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association
  • A Representative of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation
  • A Representative of the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers
  • The President of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners or Nominee
  • A Representative of the Construction Industry

For further information on NACOSH, please contact Gloria Alleyne, of the Labour Department at 310-1500 or

Published: Wednesday, 21st May, 2008


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