WORKPLACE HEALTH EMPHASISED

The health and wellness of employees must be ensured above all other considerations, as industry, manufacturing and mining expands in Fiji.

This was highlighted today by the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Youth and Sports, Hon. Parveen Kumar Bala at the World Day for Safety and Health at Work celebrations for the Western Division in Lautoka.

“At the same time, we must be conversant with international standards and ensure compliance in our operations to ensure Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). The world of work is undergoing major changes.” He emphasised the Fijian Government’s commitment to keeping abreast of these changes.

The celebration theme for this year is “Safety and Health at the heart of the future of work”.

“The concept of leisure time and concerns for workers’ wellbeing in modern times has always been the driving force for change to employment conditions. And while context and priority areas may change, the priority given to OHS does not. As part of the three parties of tripartite, we have to put aside any differences and ensure minimization of these issues.”

Alongside its tripartite stakeholders, the Fijian Government has a vested interest in minimizing the effects of an unhealthy and unproductive population.

“Fiji had adopted the ILO’s SOLVE program dealing with stress, the problems of addiction (alcohol and drugs, tobacco, gambling and cyber addiction); violence (both physical and psychological); the problems associated with HIV / AIDS; lack of adequate sleep, nutrition and regular exercise and economic stress such as the threat of job loss,” Minister Kumar said.

These issues, he said, led to health-related problems for workers, as it resulted in lower productivity for enterprises or organization and the national economy.

Celebrations were attended by representatives from the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation and the International Labour Organization.