Occupational Health and Safety in Trinidad and Tobago

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Maintaining occupational safety represents one of the major priorities of an organization working as a contractor and hiring staff members to work in its setting. While maintaining safety in the workplace and meeting staff members’ health-related needs has already been quite challenging for several organizations due to the exposure of employees to adverse factors, particularly, in construction and manufacturing, the emergence of digital technologies has exacerbated the threat (Vigoroso).

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With the advent of technological innovations, particularly, digital tools for data sharing, as well as controlling the employees’ performance, the threat of cyberattacks and the related challenges linked to the industrial use of the internet technologies have surfaced (Allen & Dibie, 2019). For countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, which have a limited amount of resources, maintaining digital safety, particularly, ensuring privacy and preventing the leaks of the staff’s data, implies an additional challenge. However, by using digital innovations to their advantage, Trinidad and Tobago companies can reinforce the levels of security with the frameworks for data loss prevention and the shield against cyberattacks.

To function in the present-day economic setting, Trinidad and Tobago will require additional layers of protection against threats to organizational safety coming from the cyber environment. To its credit, the Trinidad and Tobago government already has a well-established and coherent framework for maintaining organizational safety in the offline setting (Vigoroso). Specifically, the 2004 OSH Act of Trinidad and Tobago serves as an essential protection of workers’ rights in case of an accident that may entail n injury or any other type of damage and as “An Act respecting the safety, health, and welfare of persons at work” (Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, 2004, p. 8).

In turn, the implications of the use of digital technology on employees and organizations in Trinidad and Tobago may involve the outcomes that the current OSHA does not cover. For instance, due to the exposure of staff members’ data to the online setting, the threat of a cyberattack resulting in data safety breaks and personal information leakage may occur (OSHA, 2021). Since organizations typically keep personal and rather sensitive data of their staff members in a single place, the threat of a massive data leakage increases exponentially, requiring regular security updates and enhancement of safety measures (Allen & Dibie, 2019).

Specifically, it will be crucial to introduce OSHA e-tools for ensuring computer safety and protecting the data stored on the company’s computers from being hacked. According to the description provided by OSHA, the newly developed workstation allows controlling key security components in a way that minimizes the threat. Moreover, the flexibility of the tool is an essential advantage that will remove the threat of cyberattacks: “There is no single “correct” posture or arrangement of components that will fit everyone. However, there are basic design goals, some of which are shown in the accompanying figure, to consider when setting up a computer workstation or performing computer-related tasks” (OSHA, 2021). Therefore, the introduction of digital tools for monitoring online security is a must.

However, it would be a mistake to claim that digital technologies have only contributed to increasing the risks of a security breach in organizations. Apart from opening staff members’ data to a potential cyberattack, digital innovations have also created opportunities for preventing data loss, which is unfortunately common in the offline context (Allen & Dibie, 2019). Moreover, innovative solutions deployed in the Trinidad and Tobago business context have also contributed to shielding the staff’s data from potential attacks by introducing systems for cyber intrusion detection and its subsequent prevention (Allen & Dibie, 2019).

Additionally, the issue of construction safety has been the source of multiple discussions in the Trinidad and Tobago business setting. Currently, the testate authorities reinforce compliance with the established standards for safety in the construction industry as they are declared by the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA). Specifically, the Trinidad and Tobago OSHA requirements include the need for consistent monitoring o workplace performance and environment, as well as proper reporting of the incidents occurring in the workplace, as well as the related safety and security breaches (OSHA, 2021, 2021).

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Generally, the OSHA of Trinidad and Tobago provides a rather sensible set of guidelines for keeping the levels of workers’ safety high. However, some improvements could be made given the changing context of the construction industry. Specifically, in the Trinidad and Tobago environment, it is important to keep the track of the international businesses that seek cheaper options while having little concern for the possible implications for the well-being of the local population.

Indeed, following a recent history of protests in Trinidad and Tobago, one will discover certain issues within the construction industry as far as safety issues are concerned. Namely, the protests that took place in 2016 revealed that several incidents have demonstrated glaringly the presence of safety issues in the construction industry (Business & Human Rights Resource Center, 2016). In retrospect, the specified accidents should be attributed to the lack of compliance with the established safety measures rather than to the incoherence in the set safety standards (Business & Human Rights Resource Center, 2016). Nonetheless, the described case can be considered a precedent that should be used to improve the current levels of workplace safety, particularly, for construction workers.

To manage the current situation observed in Trinidad and Tobago, particularly, regarding the construction industry safety issues, the existing regulations regarding the maintenance of workplace safety must be revisited and reinforced. Companies will have to face harsher penalties with a long-lasting effect for the instances of workplace safety breaches. Thus, organizations will be forced to comply with the safety standards and check that all staff members follow them accordingly.

Moreover, providing homogenous rules for safety management in the construction setting must be offered. Presently, the Trinidad and Tobago construction industry setting lack coherency and uniformity in its approach to safety requirements in the workplace (Ellis & Gordon, 2019). As a result, the approach that most construction companies adopt toward ensuring workplace safety is rather relaxed, with very mild repercussions for staff members and the absence of rigid control (Ellis & Gordon, 2019). In turn, the enforcement of safety standards and the introduction of a single set of guidelines that can be applied to every construction set will help to amend the problem.

Admittedly, creating a system for reporting the cases that involve near misses, namely, the situations in which accidents were narrowly escaped, must be considered a necessity. The specified system will help to locate a pattern in the management of safety issues within the construction setting, including possible sociocultural factors such as neglect of the threat the lack of awareness. As a result, an improvement in safety rates is expected.

By introducing innovative techniques for safety management and including digital tools for monitoring incidents to identify key factors inciting the Trinidad and Tobago organizations will be able to increase the levels of security within the workplace. Specifically, the concerns regarding cybersecurity, as well as the issues observed in the construction industry as a result of poorly worded instructions, will be managed accordingly. With the focus on safeguarding people’s lives and securing their personal information, Trinidad and Tobago organizations will be able to make a difference in the realm of workplace safety.

References

Allen, M., & Dibie, R. (2019). Analysis of the effectiveness of the occupational safety and health policy in three industries in Trinidad and Tobago. Journal of Public Administration and Governance, 9(4), 46-74.

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Business & Human Rights Resource Center. (2016). Trinidad & Tobago: TOFCO workers protest over health and safety issues during construction of BP´s platform. Web.

Ellis, R. L., & Gordon, K. D. (2019). Employee perception of the impact of occupational health and safety management on organisational commitment: A case study of an energy sector organisation in Trinidad and Tobago. West Indian Journal of Engineering, 41(2), 1-9.

Gorina, L., & Freze, T. (2021). Comparative analysis and optimization of digital control for providing occupational safety in the organization. Advances in Economics, Business and Management Research, 171, pp. 1904-199.

Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs. (2004). Occupational health and safety act. Web.

Vigoroso, L., Caffaro, F., Micheletti Cremasco, M., & Cavallo, E. (2021). Innovating occupational safety training: A scoping review on digital games and possible applications in agriculture. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(4), 1868.

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BusinessEssay. 2022. "Occupational Health and Safety in Trinidad and Tobago." September 8, 2022. https://business-essay.com/occupational-health-and-safety-in-trinidad-and-tobago/.

1. BusinessEssay. "Occupational Health and Safety in Trinidad and Tobago." September 8, 2022. https://business-essay.com/occupational-health-and-safety-in-trinidad-and-tobago/.


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