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.