ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Labour Commissioner Hesketh Williams has thrown his full support behind the mandatory implementation of standards here.
The initiative is being led by the Bureau of Standards, specifically as it relates to the labelling of products.
Williams said this should be expanded to include workplaces, particularly since the National Labour Board is working on the first draft of a Health and Safety Act in the hope it can be enacted this year.
That Act would give employees the right to refuse work based on its safety level, among other things.
Williams is suggesting that government provide the bureau with the necessary tools to conduct accurate measurements, which he believes, can be used to bolster the case of employees who challenge contentious matters relating to workplace environments in the courts.
“If there are safety standards that are being violated that are being measured, when making a case you need to ensure that your instruments have been calibrated,” he noted.
“If you go to court with an instrument and they ask when last it was calibrated and you said two years ago and it should have been calibrated every six months then the evidence that is being presented from that instrument is not acceptable.”
Williams said mandatory standards must be accompanied by penalties to ensure full compliance.
“It has to be a warning system for others who are a little lackadaisical to put things in place,” he added.
The Bureau of Standards joined with others around the world on May 20 to observe World Metrology Day, which is the science of measurement. The theme was Metrology for safety.
Antigua & Barbuda has been collaborating with the Caricom Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality on the implementation of standards.