By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has opined that the proposed Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Bill, as it is currently drafted, will hurt rather than help the economy.
The BCCI met with the Public Service, Labour, Industry and Trade Committee on Tuesday to give their input as it relates to the implementation of the OSH Bill.
President of the BCCI Kay Menzies told The Reporter that the business community is concerned about the draft bill because it focuses more on punitive measure rather than measures that actually promote safety in the workplace.
“Passing this bill would be costly to the economy and would not facilitate economic growth,” Menzies said.
She described the bill as too “damaged to be repaired” and said that the BCCI is proposing that the legislation be taken back to the drawing board and for reasonable safety legislation to be drafted in a way that will enhance occupational safety without hindering economic activity.
BCCI member, Daniel Guttierez, also told The Reporter that at the consultation it was made clear that the bill would hurt employees and the economy and passing this legislation would be harmful for job growth.
“While we believe in the protection of employees, this bill will not be conducive to the long-term benefit of those workers,” said Guttierez.
Chairman of the Public Service, Labor, Industry and Trade Committee Herman Longsworth told The Reporter that the consultation was significant because the committee needs to hear from all proponents and stakeholders and BCCI is the greatest stakeholder in this issue.
Longsworth also indicated that there would soon be a series of countrywide public consultations so the general public could give input into the issue.
The Occupational Safety and Health Bill, 2014 is a proposed legislation that would establish particular regulatory principles for big and small employers and their employees and would carry stiff penalties for non-compliant persons.