For the rest of this week, representatives of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize are engaged in a symposium to discuss the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, also known as the OSH Bill. President of the NTUCB, Dylan Reneau, says the sessions are designed to help the participants to identify safety hazards in the workplace and to be able to address them.

Dylan Reneau, President, NTUCB
“At the same time we are looking at the draft occupational safety and health bill that the Government is currently going to review and we have a session on the third day where we have the social partners coming in to give their views on the legislation. Coming out of this we are certainly going to approach the Minister of Labour and the Government to pass the OSH bill after we have had a proper review of the legislation and heard the views of the social partners.”

Marion Ali - Reporter
I am sure we have heard of this before, safety hazards as it relates to the job, how have you advanced on that first introduction and two, does it tie in with social security benefits and that sort of thing?

Dylan Reneau, President, NTUCB
“The first point is that there are two ways of addressing safety and health in the workplace as trade unions we can use the collective bargaining process to address safety and health and we are addressing that in our training, in our symposium over the next three days but we also need a better framework for unorganized workers because what we have in the Factory’s Act and all the other labour legislation that deals with OSH is outdated that is why the NTUCB is pushing to try and get a framework for unorganized workers . Regarding your second question with Social Security Board and the benefits, obviously the safety net is of concern to the NTUCB and we have the Social Security doing a presentation on Friday on the employment injury benefit branch and how that impacts workers. What we have learnt is the Belize situation is that when you get hurt on the job you really only get a small replacement of your salary from Social Security and if you are considered under employment injury then you get the hospital bills paid. That is something that is of concern to us because if you are the only bread winner that could severely impact the family so occupational safety and health is very serious and the material we are gaining from this will become a part of the NTUCB yearly training program.”