Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) – The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) has embarked on a comprehensive approach and journey that will put safety first in everything done in its day to day operations.
Delivering remarks at the opening ceremony of an occupational safety and health awareness programme under the theme “Safety first,- prepare, prevent and preserve,” Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jonathan Bass hopes the training will address one of the key concerns of SCASPA – that is occupational safety and health in the workplace.
“Our organisation’s greatest asset is our employees; and protecting our employees from workplace injuries or illnesses is critical to the success of SCASPA. Creating a workplace that is free of illness and injury begins with one crucial decision: the establishment of an effective safety awareness programme,” he told participants.
The main objective of this safety awareness programme is to make safety one of the core values.
“It will not happen on its own. It will require the support of every one of us in this organization to make safety a core value. For safety to be a core value of SCASPA that stands out, every employee must ensure that safety is embedded in every activity undertaken by the organisation. Safety should be viewed as a value just like honesty, working hard, and showing up to work on time,” said Mr. Bass, who reiterated that making safety one of SCASPA’s core values will lead to building a workplace safety culture.
“A safety culture empowers all employees to maintain a commitment to safety in everything they do in the workplace. The key to the success of establishing a safety-based culture starts at the top management level. When the passion for safety is driven by a leadership team, it filters down and through the entire organization and will encourage employees to actively care about one another,” he said.
Pointing out that SCASPA’s management has a responsibility to communicate the importance of safety as well as the value and respect they have for the people who work for the institution, Mr. Bass pointed out to the employees that safety, “in our role as a manager or supervisor, is all about caring for the well being of the persons who work in our departments.”
“It is all about always asking ourselves “what can we do to make the physical workplace safer and reduce risk of injury?”. It is all about ensuring that our employees return safely or without injuries to their families at the end of each work day. Not having a strong workplace safety culture can result in accidents that cause unnecessary personal and financial losses to employees and their families and ultimately bring the organization in disrepute,” he said.
Asking how SCASPA intends to embark on this journey to make safety one of SCASPA’s core values, Mr. Bass disclosed that SACAPA has already prepared final drafts of safety policies for both cargo and aviation operations.
“We are in the process of updating and finalizing SOPs for Maritime operation. We have appointed three Health and Safety Officers- Mr. Kester Caines, Airport Operation; Mr. Everett Mason for Maritime Operation and Mr. Kervin Freeman for Seaport Operations. These officers will have the authority to enforce the company’s safety policy at their respective assigned areas and make recommendations to the Human Resource Department to take disciplinary actions when safety measures are not adhered to. They will also be responsible for preparing, updating and revising SCASPA’s written safety policy,” he announced.
SCASPA has also indentified persons to be on a Safety Committee made up of management, employees and safety officers. The Committee will report monthly to Management on issues related to safety. The purpose of the Safety Committee is to facilitate, support, and direct the safety culture change processes. This committee will have the authority to get things done if it is to be effective.
Plans are also in train to develop a system of accountability and reporting of safety issues.
“We have arranged safety awareness training for our staff and stakeholders to get them on board and promote a safer work environment with quality results,” said Mr. Bass.
The facilitators were Messrs. Osric Forrest and Wycliff Frater, two Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) trained facilitators from the Caribbean Maritime Institute in Jamaica.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) outreach training programme provided an overview of various Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) topics aimed at promoting workplace safety and to making workers and stakeholders more knowledgeable about workplace hazards.
It also provided in-depth information on the recognition, avoidance, abatement and prevention of workplace accidents.