Employment in fields such as oil and gas, manufacturing and even construction are believed to be quite lucrative. But just as the acquisition of skills is important to delve into these fields, so is being OSHA qualified.
This is according to Director of School of the Nations, Dr. Brian O’Toole.
OSHA refers to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA was created in the United States of America, to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.
In recognition of the fact that these standards are relevant to Guyana, Nations is looking to add to its curriculum an OSHA Compliant programme. These programmes, it was noted, serve as a backdrop to assist employers and employees to better understand and comply with the Guyana Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Moreover, Nations is promoting the notion that “the understanding and adoption of OSHA standards is crucial for those planning to work in general industry work sites, manufacturing industries and oil and gas production either locally or in the USA.”
Speaking of the programme recently, Dr. O’Toole said, for instance, “None of the oil companies would look at anyone unless they have these [OSHA] qualifications.”
In fact he added, “you wouldn’t get anywhere near an oil company unless you are certified, because they could be sued millions of dollars.”
Although approval has been granted for the inclusion of the OSHA programme at Nations, it is yet to be accredited by the National Accreditation Council [NAC].
But, according to Dr. O’Toole, already the response to the programme has been tremendous. This he credited to the fact that people are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of the programme.
“We have been here 40 years and it is a little bit like years ago… I remember when the seat belt rule came in and everyone laughed at it, but we had to get into the modern world, and now all of us use seat belts,” said Dr. O’Toole, as he spoke of the expected eventual total acceptance of the OSHA programme in the Guyanese society.
“Health and safety is absolutely disregarded in Guyana, but you wouldn’t get anywhere without it, especially with the oil companies,” insisted Dr. O’Toole.
Nations is gearing to offer a 10-hour safety and health training programme for general industry, which was developed by OSHA to provide workers with a general awareness of the types of hazards commonly found in general industry work sites such as manufacturing facilities, logistics and warehousing operations, medical or dental fields, oil and gas production, chemical manufacturing plants and most service industries.
“OSHA recommends this training as an orientation to occupational safety and health to provide students with an overview of the basic health safety hazards present in the workplace,” outlines a Nations brochure. It adds, “The training course also provides students with an overview of how the OSHA operates and how the standard applies to Guyana.”
The programme consists of six mandatory classes totalling seven hours duration and three elective classes of one-hour duration each. These courses will be selected from a range permitting trainers to tailor courses to the specific needs and interests of each group.
According to Dr. O’Toole, Nations will be recruiting experts, mainly from Trinidad and Tobago, to deliver the programme. In addition, since the programme is new to Guyana, and is intended to target entry-level workers, there will be no pre-requisites to undertake the 10-hour general industry course.
Nations will also offer 30-hour programme aimed at raising the level of awareness on the recognition, avoidance and prevention of safety and health hazards in the workplace.
The programme will also seek to broaden employers’ knowledge and train senior level personnel to be able to manage safety on the site and to ensure employers and employees comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Guyana Occupational Safety and Health Act.
“As the 30-hour is specifically aimed toward senior employees, the programme will allow for a more in-depth look at how the standard applies to Guyana,” details the Nations brochure.
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