Minister's Statement on 'Danger, Construction at Work'
Published 27th June 2016, 5:30pm
Compliance of Recommendations Made by the Office of the Complaints Commissioner’s Report “Danger, Construction at Work”
Statement to the Legislative Assembly 7th Meeting of the 2015/2016 Session of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly
By the Honourable Tara Rivers, JP, MLA
Minister of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs
24 June 2016
In addition to the Statement I made on the compliance of the Office of the Complaints Commissioner’s Report, Penny Pinching Pensions, I would also like to make a brief Statement in relation to the Ministry and Department of Labour and Pensions fulfilling the recommendations made in 2012 by the Office of the Complaints Commissioner (OCC) in an Own Motion Investigation Report entitled Danger, Construction at Work.
Initiated by the Complaints Commissioner at the time, Ms. Nicola Williams, this Own Motion Investigation report contained a total of 13 recommendations. The terms of reference for this report was: “An investigation into the ability for the Department of Labour and Pensions (DLP) – formerly the Department of Employment Relations- to effectively and properly oversee, inspect and ensure Health and Safety at work for those involved in the constructions industry, as mandated under the applicable Law and Regulations.”
In this report, Complaints Commissioner Williams stated that the reason for the investigation into this area was as follows:
“The construction industry is in a category of its own. It is a high-risk industry, and there is no price that can be placed on human life. Of all the work the Department undertakes, any failings on their part in this area have the potential to be the most damaging to its reputation.”
The 13 Recommendations made by Commissioner Williams can be grouped into the following categories: legislative changes; ensuring proper training and equipment is available to Labour Inspectors; structural, staffing and administrative recommendations in regard to the Department and its employees; increased government inter-agency collaboration to improve the culture of compliance; and recommendations to protect construction industry employees and whistleblowers.
Mister Speaker, over the course of the years since the publication of the report, the Ministry and Department has worked in collaboration with the Office of the Complaints Commission in order to comply with the recommendations of the Report. While I do not think it is necessary to describe in detail the 13 recommendations made, I will summarize to the Members of this Honourable House that of the 13 recommendations made in the original report, only 4 were deemed to be outstanding as of 2016.
On the 21st April 2016 the Ministry submitted its latest report to the Office of the Complaints Commission to update the Office on the progress made on these outstanding recommendations. I am pleased to report that on the 20th May 2016, the Ministry received a letter from the Acting Complaints Commission, Mrs. Bridgette von Gerhardt which stated that the Office of Complaints Commissioner determined that the Ministry has complied or substantially complied with the 4 outstanding recommendations and therefore as of that date the file would be closed on this report.
Given that the Office of the Complaints Commissioner has now closed the matters outlined in the Danger, Construction at Work Report, I would like to provide for the record of this Honourable House the letter to the Ministry from the OCC stating this.
Thank you, Mister Speaker.