Occupational Safety: A walk through time

IOSH Caribbean Branch
2016 Annual General Meeting

The Caribbean Branch hosted its Annual General Meeting on Friday 27th May, 2016 at Courtyard Marriott, Port of Spain, Trinidad. The theme of the event revolved around the evolution of Occupational Safety in Trinidad and Tobago.

Mr. Eugene Tiah, Executive Chairman, Energy & Industrial Gases Business Unit, Massy Holdings Limited, delivered the feature address. Dr. Victor Coombs, Chairman, Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA), was the Keynote Speaker.  Specially invited guests included Mr. Gaekwad Ramoutar, Chief Inspector, OSH Agency and the School of Business and Computer Science.

Mr. Jason Maitland, Branch Secretary, opened the event with a warm welcome to all. This was followed by the review and confirmation of the minutes of the 2015 annual general meeting.          Mr. Shazam Edoo, Treasurer, presented the financial report for March 2015 – April 2016. 

Mr. Curt Cadet, Chair, then delivered the annual report, highlighting the Branch’s major accomplishments and challenges, accentuating its vision, mission, aims, objectives and strategic plan.

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Curt Cadet, Chair, delivering the Branch Chair's Report for 2015

Mr Eugene Tiah delivered the feature address which was geared towards achieving critical mass and creating the concept of significant change. He took us on a journey through time, drawing from his personal experiences in the Industrial Sector.

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Feature Speaker: Mr. Eugene Tiah Executive Chairman, Energy & Industrial Gases Business Unit, Massy Holdings Limited

Mr. Tiah also drew reference to Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can make a Big Difference” – defining the tipping point as that “moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.

Mr. Tiah emphasized that for this to affect significant change, three (3) core elements were needed:

i) Law of the few – to be heavily dependent on the involvement of people with the ability to communicate, teach and persuade.

ii) Stickiness factor – creating ways to make the message memorable.

iii) Power of context – to engage in a certain type of behavior that is a norm in a particular environment.

The Keynote Speaker, Dr. Victor Coombs, began his discussion by reviewing statistical data of occupational accidents in Trinidad and Tobago.

He applauded IOSH for advancing health and safety in the Caribbean, supporting leaders in health and safety and promoting health and safety values in organizations.

Dr. Coombs spoke to the effect of the economic downturn in the workplace as it related to stress. He noted that in 2014/15, stress, depression and anxiety in the UK accounted for 9.9 million days lost due to work-related ill health.

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Keynote Speaker: Dr. Victor Coombs, Chairman, Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA)

Dr. Coombs also discussed the focal points that will be driven by the OSHA, namely:

  • The needs of the OSH Agency.
  • To ensure employees are competent by satisfying both academic and experience criteria.
  • To improve the OSH Profile in Trinidad and Tobago
  • To place major effort in training and education.
  • To provide necessary tools for practicing OSH professionals
  • To reach to level of compliance by acknowledging employee’s competence
  • To work with the IOSH CB, Safety Council of Trinidad and Tobago and other organizations promoting OSH, in an effort to set standards of training and experience required throughout employees career, to make provisions to keep OSH training and development current, etc
  • To implement macro level strategies by:

1. Revising the Trinidad & Tobago OSH Act, Chapter 88:08
2. Bringing regulations before Parliament for adoption within next 5 years – IOSH CB will be invited to participate.
3. OSH Committees to be established in all companies
4. Ratification of ILO’s OSH Conventions
5. To adopt behavioral based strategies in all organizations
6. OSH Modules to be developed in schools to teach the future workers on OSH practices
7. All Graduands of tertiary institutions  to complete an OSH related module  To develop memoranda of understanding between the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development and the Ministry of Education.

Both guest speakers were graciously thanked and presented with a token of appreciation on behalf of IOSH CB.

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Mr. Eugene Tiah and Dr. Victor Coombs being presented with a token of appreciation

Mr. Curt Cadet concluded the evening by thanking the guest speakers and introducing the new members of the IOSH – Caribbean Branch Executive Committee.

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IOSH Caribbean Branch Executive Members
Left to right: Curt Cadet (Chair), LeKeisha Jordon (Barbados Country Coordinator), Jason Maitland (Secretary), Shazara Ali Bocas (Executive Member), Navin Ragoo (Vice Chair), Ria Sooknarine (Communications Coordinator), Janelle Duff (Assistant Secretary), Shazam Edoo (Treasurer), Tshana Lakhee (Executive Member)
Missing from photo: Anthony Rocheforde (Executive Member), Stephen Arneaud (Communications Coordinator), Jess McClure (Bermuda Country Coordinator)