TSTT raising the bar on workplace safety

Trinidad - In the list of occupational duties, climbing telephone poles doesn’t come to mind as one of the safest. But TSTT’s intense focus on workplace safety has made the company’s accident rate take a dramatic plunge. The Lost Time Incident Rate (LTIR) is an international standard for measuring loss work days per 100 employees due to work place injuries. TSTT’s Manager of Safety, Health & Environment, Burris Pierre, said the company made tremendous improvements in making the workplace safer for employees and customers. He noted that TSTT’s safety program succeeded in reducing the company’s Loss Time Incident Rate from 1.9 in the year 2005/06 to 0.7 for the year 2007/08: “Well below the international benchmark of 1.1 LTIR for utilities worldwide.” Mr. Pierre was at the time addressing employees at TSTT’s “Safety Week” awards ceremony on Friday, June 13 in TSTT’s Human Resource Centre in Port of Spain. TSTT CEO Roberto Peón and Executive Director of Trinidad and Tobago Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), Dr. Paul Huijzendveld were among the featured speakers at the event. “Safety is just purely good business,” said Mr. Peón, noting the profound emotional and operational impact of workplace injury and death. “Our safe workplace record is how we demonstrate our care for the people who work here and the customers we serve.” He gave his unreserved backing to the country’s labour safety regime. “I am completely and totally supportive of OSHA and its efforts.” Dr Huijzendveld, the feature speaker, commended TSTT for their commitment to occupational safety and praised the Government for enacting one of the most advanced OSH acts in the world. “We all know that Trinidad and Tobago is working towards vision 2020,” he said. “This is an area in which they already are. You can be very proud of that.” He qualified his statement however, by adding that as in most countries, implementation of the OSH act was not as praiseworthy. T&T statistics for 2007 showed over 17 fatal and 700 non-fatal occupational accidents reported at work. Evidence suggests that true figures for non-fatal accidents may well be over 2,000. These numbers are between two to four times higher than in the Developed World. TSTT’s Safety Week, inspired by World Day for Safety and Health at Work (April 28), included a series of lectures by Anthony Rocheford, Chairman of the Caribbean branch of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. It also included a company-wide Safety Week Quiz, which garnered over two thousand (2000) entries from employees at TSTT.