Occupational Safety and Health

This Department is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the Factories Act and its accompanying Regulations. It encourages the promotion and maintenance of minimum occupational safety and health (OSH) standards for the protection of all workers. With the support and guidance of the International Labour Organization (ILO) through its Conventions, Declarations, Legislations and Programmes, the Department prescribes standards and policies aimed at achieving acceptable working conditions that are conducive to protecting workers while maintaining productivity and competitiveness.. There is a direct correlation between prosperous nations and high standards of occupational safety and health (Sweden Oslo, 1998). This concept has been integrated within the four strategic pillars of the ILO’s “Decent work Agenda” that includes ”a safe work environment” as one of the core labour elements required for achieving fair globalization and poverty reduction.

Operation of the Occupational Safety and Health Department (OSHD)

The main focus of the Department is the promotion and enforcement of the Factories Act and its associated Regulations. This is achieved through the inspection of factories, docks and cargo vessels, building operations and works of engineering construction, as well as investigating accidents that occur in these institutions. With the impending passage of Jamaica’s Occupational Safety and Health Bill that should canvass all branches of economic activity the Department since 2007 has been promoting its Voluntary Compliance Program (VCP) as the means through which organisations can prepare to satisfy the requirements under this new regime. Enrolment in VCP allows entities the opportunity to achieve the requisite standards promulgated the OSH Bill, with the assistance of the OSHD.

Main Services

To register a factory, owner or manager must first download the Application Form for Factory Registration along with schedule for scale of fees.

Secondly, complete the form and pay the prescribed fee at the nearest Tax Administration of Jamaica Collectorate.

Lastly, submit the completed form and receipt of payment to the OSHD at 1F North Street, Kingston by post, fax or email.

Thereafter, an unannounced inspection will be conducted of the factory. Safety, health and welfare conditions are assessed for compliance with the Factories Act & Regulations.

A Certificate of Registration is issued if the findings of the safety & health Inspection reveal that there is no imminent risk of bodily injury from the plant or process. The Certificate is valid for three (3) years.

Where an industrial accident occurs, the OSHD must be immediately notified. An Inspector then visits the workplace and conducts an accident investigation, after which the recommendations for corrective action is communicated to the Owner/Manager.

Building plans for the construction or alteration of factories must be submitted to the OSHD for approval, before submission to the relevant Municipal Corporation. A completed Building Plan Approval Form and at least three (3) copies of such plans must be submitted to the Regional Offices or North Street Head Office for review. If any amendments are required, the applicant will be informed. On approval, the plans will be stamped and signed approved and at least two (2) copies will be returned to the applicant.