OHS must be treated seriously

Letters, Normal

I REFER to your report about the four-day safety training in Lae for 11 people (March 30).
It is amazing to learn that Papua New Guinea has a safety assurance system (PNGSAS).
Since when and for how long has PNGSAS been in existence?
What is the impact like in the workplaces?
How did PNGSAS advocate safety assurance system?
To start with, PNG is a sovereign independent State and it is governed by its own legal system – the occupational health, safety and management system (OHSMS).
PNG is not a metropolitan city like Queensland which has its own OHS state law.
I question the job of the consultant attached with the Labour and Industrial Relations Department.
It makes no sense banking on an outdated law or drawing relevance of OHS law of another country of which PNG is not subject to.
Is the consultant conducting short safety training stints here and there for a handful of people?
If that is the case, then it is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Should an employer or owner of an establishment allegedly deviate from complying with the requirements of health and safety standard, under which law should the perpetrators be answerable?
Is it the PNG law or the Queensland state law?
If PNG has an OHS law, since when was it enacted and made enforceable or are we referring to an old outdated law of the colonial era?
Occupational health and safety is an important discipline.
It regulates the workplace and the activities undertaken to ensure best work environment and practices prevail.
There should be legal guidelines and requirements under OHS law for injury prevention and management.
The OHS legislation places the onus on employers and business owners for absolute duty of care.
In my view, short safety training courses will have no bearing in implementing best work practices.
As far as the consultant and the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations are concerned, there are many issues concerning occupational health and safety in PNG.
As such, short training courses are a waste of time and resources.
They must be conducted properly and ensure that both employers and employees are aware of OHS in workplaces, their rights and relevant laws.


Nickson Waiyo
Newcastle, Australia