WASA, Minister Gonzales must take full responsibilty for breaches under their watch

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WASA, Minister Gonzales must take full responsibilty for breaches under their watch

Couva South MP, Rudy Indarsingh, said the Occupational Health and Safety Agency’s (OSHA) formal complaint in the Industrial Court against the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) over six breaches leading to the death of deceased worker Kern Etienne, have left him gravely concerned about the safety of workers at WASA and utterly saddened at how preventable Mr Etienne’s death was.

In a statement, Indarsingh said, “OSHA’s move highlights not one but six breaches. This number of breaches suggests that at WASA, there was more than a mistake and there may have been a developing culture of disregard for safety guidelines and processes, ultimately resulting in the death of a human being.”

“One wonders whether such breaches occurred only on the worksite at which Mr Etienne died, or whether other WASA worksites may have had similar breaches which were undetected or even unreported.”

Indarsingh said the Human Resources and the Health and Safety Departments at WASA, in addition to WASA’s management must accept full responsibility for the breaches which occurred under their watch.

“While they are alive and conducting their analyses, Mr Etienne is no longer alive and his family has lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother and a breadwinner,” Indarsingh noted.

He added, “Minister Marvin Gonzales, who has been restructuring WASA for the past eternity, Mr Ravi Nanga, the Chairman of WASA, and its entire Board of Commissioners must answer as to the presence of not one, nor two, but six breaches under their watch and account for the severe and fatal compromising of OSHA standards under their watch.”

“It is instructive to note that the Board of WASA remains in office. Similarly, when Rishi Nagassar, Fyzal Kurban, Yusuf Henry and Kazim Ali Jr died in the now infamous Paria pipeline incident, not a single member of the Board of Directors at Paria and its management were dismissed or resigned.”

Indarsingh said it is clear that under PM Rowley and Minister of Labour Stephen Mc Clashie there has been a breakdown in regard for the safety of workers and no regard for corporate accountability in face of serious or fatal workplace incidents.

“The Opposition continues to stand on the side of workers as it relates ensuring their safety and wellbeing. A UNC government will ensure that safety culture is revived in state companies and in the private sector, and that management is held accountable for breaches under their purview. ”