C’bean Experts Want COVID Safety Protocols Kept After Pandemic

(JAMAICA GLEANER) – Caribbean occupational safety and health experts want governments and employers to retain some of the protocols now in place for the coronavirus even after things return to normal.

The protocols include requirements for social distancing, sanitisation and air control.

According to Goodwin Thomas, occupational safety and health officer at the Technical and Allied Trade Union Federation, when economies open up again, a shift system may be ideal for workplaces.

He said this would be useful for the continued promotion of social distancing.

“Because of how factories and other workplaces are designed, it would not give us an opportunity to have social distancing, unless we expand buildings,” said Thomas.

He was among panellists who participated in an International Labour Organisation virtual round table on safety and health at work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

St Lucian trade unionist Yvonne Edwin, agreed with Thomas but also suggested a phased approach in rostering employees.

“We will have to ensure that social distancing is included in guidelines and policies and that we do not just jump right back to normal,” she said.

Meanwhile, Asif Gafor, the health, safety and environment manager at Demerara Distillers Limited in Guyana, said his company would maintain its COVID protocols relating to cleansing and sanitisation.

“As it relates to air flow management, ventilation has been a key aspect of our safety programme and is captured under our health and safety mandate,” he said.