Review Of Health & Safety In Public Schools

October 29, 2017

The Minister of Cabinet Office with Responsibility for Government Reform Lovitta Foggo provided an update on the Government’s undertaking to review health and safety in Public Schools, saying that the Health and Safety Office is “currently in the process of preparing a Summary Report of all inspection findings.”

Inspections of Government’s schools, commenced on the 21st August 2017, and were completed on 13th October 2017, the Government said, adding that the inspections were conducted by the Government’s Safety and Health Coordinator.

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Minister Foggo said, “The Health and Safety Office is currently in the process of preparing a Summary Report of all inspection findings.

“Once I receive the submission of the Summary Report the Health and Safety Office will provide detailed individual draft Facilities Inspection Reports of each school. The separate reports will be sent to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Works.

“These Ministries will provide feedback on the draft reports and a final Facilities Inspection Report for each school will be completed. Work to address any issues will commence thereafter.

“At this point, we are pleased that we could meet our commitment to our students, faculty and parents by completing this stage of the process.”

The Minister went on to highlight the important differentiating role of the Health and Safety Office, particularly in relation to the Ministry of Health’s Health Inspection Department

Minister Foggo added, “The Health and Safety Office operates in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 1982; Section 3 [General Duties of Employers] and in this regard any high risk findings identified as a part of the inspection process have already been rectified.

“The Government as an employer must fulfill all its legal obligations regarding workplace safety and health to ensure full regulatory compliance with all current and related statues as may be amended from time to time.”

“The Safety and Health Coordinator is chiefly responsible for the overall management and coordination of all occupational safety and health services, guidance and advisory functions for the Government of Bermuda as an employer.

“In accordance with the Government’s internal Occupational Safety and Health Policy, the Government of Bermuda is committed to the achievement and maintenance of the highest standards of safety and health.

“We have committed to provide and maintain working and learning conditions that are free from recognizable hazards and risks to the safety, health and well-being of all students and employees.

“As it relates to the public schools health and safety review, I am gratified that urgent attention was given to this matter and we look forward to enacting the identified recommendations as soon as possible.”

The Minister of Education Diallo Rabain said, “The Health and Safety our students, teachers, support staff and administrators is of the highest priority. It was important to undertake these inspections so that the Ministry of Education has a clear idea of the challenges faced within our schools.

“I look forward to receipt of these reports in due course so we can progress the our Election and Throne Speech promises of doing what is needed to ensure our students, teachers, support staff and administrators are working in safe schools.”

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