Foulkes: Safety recommendations implemented at container port
In the year since the deadly tornado that briefly touched down in Grand Bahama, the government and the Freeport Container Port(FCP)have implemented all of the recommendations outlined in a report compiled by an International Labour Office(ILO)expert in occupational health and safety, according to Labour and Social Development Minister Dion Foulkes.
It was around mid-day on March 29, 2010 when the tornado struck the FCP, leaving three people dead and another six injured.
Shortly after the tragedy, the government enlisted the ILO expert to make recommendations.
“I’m pleased to report that[the government and the FCP]have complied with all of the recommendations in the report,”Foulkes said.
“Minister[Loretta]Butler-Turner and myself visited the container port a few months ago and actually saw first hand the improvements that they made, and so we are hopeful that if in the event that it does happen again and a tornado does strike, that all of the industrial sectors of Grand Bahama would be ready for it, including the container port.”
The report contained numerous recommendations for the government.
“In relation to the problem of timely public communication of severe weather-related alerts, the process and rules for issuing such alerts should be reviewed and to the extent possible improved,” the ILO report detailed.
“Occupational safety and health in The Bahamas is legislated under the 2002 Health and Safety at Work Act. While the act provides a good general framework and defines all the important principles and responsibilities in this area, its full implementation could be strengthened and facilitated by the development of regulations, codes of practice and technical standards designed to address the specific needs of different economic sectors,”noted the report.
It added that consideration should be given to the strengthening of the national occupational health and safety system, and more particularly its labor inspection capacities in the area of occupational safety and health.
In regards to the Freeport Container Port, the report said government should among other things re-evaluate the radio communication system and make necessary improvements to ensure that alerts and instructions regarding serious emergency situations can be transmitted immediately on all channels and to all personnel using radio units.
Minister Foulkes said the government has sent two officers from the Department of Labour to Florida to undergo health and safety training.
Yesterday the Grand Bahama Christian Council held a memorial for the victims to commemorate the anniversary of the tragedy. The service took place at Cummings Temple on East Settler’s Way in Grand Bahama.