Inspections focus on safety and health

POSTED: 10/1/12 12:21 PM

St. Maarten (DCOMM) – Two out of six areas that the multi-disciplinary inspection teams will be looking at when they hit the streets today for a series of controls are occupational safety and health at workplaces, and food safety.

A healthy workplace is one in which workers and managers collaborate to use a continual improvement process to protect and promote the health, safety and wellbeing of workers, and the sustainability of the workplace, the department of communication stated in a press release issued yesterday.

The most successful and competitive companies are those that have the best health and safety records, and the most physically and mentally healthy and satisfied workers.

The International Labour Organization estimates that two million women and men die each year as a result of occupational accidents and work-related illnesses.

The World Health Organization estimates that 160 million new cases of work-related illnesses occur every year, and stipulates that workplace conditions account for over a third of back pain, 16 per cent of hearing loss, nearly 10 per cent of lung cancer; and that eight per cent of the burden of depression can be attributed to workplace risk.

Food safety is a public health priority. Millions of people every year fall ill, and many die as a result of eating unsafe food. Serious outbreaks of food-borne disease have been documented on every continent in the past decade, and in many countries rates of illnesses are increasing significantly.

It is important for food establishments that provide such services to the public and visitors, to practice safe food preparation. Each individual should know how to ensure safe food handling practices and prevent food-borne diseases.

The five keys to safer food are: keep clean; separate raw and cooked; cook thoroughly; keep food at safe temperatures; and use safe water and raw materials.

The Inspectorates of Public Health, Social Development, Labour and Food Safety, as well as the tax and fire department, the Vromi-Ministry (for building safety and environment issues) and the ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication will take part in the inspections.

Inspections will continue on a regular basis. The multi-disciplinary team asks that businesses have all the required permits and other administrative documentation on hand.


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