24 OSH and Labour Inspectors trained in Papua New Guinea for a modern and effective OSH inspection system.

The Department of Labour and Industrial Relations, Papua New Guinea (PNG), in cooperation with the ILO organized a five day programme on OSH inspection

News | 04 March 2013
The programme, which took place in Port Moresby from 25 February to 1 March 2013, was attended by 24 OSH and Labour Inspectors, including two officials from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Ministry of Mines. A number of the participants were staff from the Provincial Offices. The training also featured a session with the social partners (EFPNG and PNGTUC) discussing how the inspectorate, the employers’ organizations and the trade unions can collaborate in making workplaces in PNG safer.

The training is part of the overall efforts by the Government of PNG to strengthen both its inspection system and the OSH system in the country. In fact, the Government and the social partners have recognized the importance of safety and health at work in the rapid social and economic development of the country. Some of the industries that are of key importance to the country’s development e.g. natural resource extraction sector and forestry and timber industry entail significant safety and health risks, if not proper managed. Moreover, low awareness and limited capacity and resources to actively address OSH in small scale businesses and informal economy, including agriculture, constitute another set of challenges in the country.

In this context, the Government has prioritised the development of new Occupational Safety and Health legislation and a draft has been prepared with technical assistance from the Fiji Government. The Bill is intended to establish an enabling and comprehensive approach to OSH and will extend the scope of OSH legislation to, in principle, the entire labour market. To strengthen the OSH response and in particular the capacity to effectively implement and enforce the envisaged new Act, the DLIR has promoted the safety and health activities to one of its five core programmes and efforts are on-going to strengthen the OSH programme, in terms of authority and enforcement capacity, policy and legal framework, human resources etc. The Department is also looking at measures to achieve a more integrated and harmonized inspection services in the country. Thus the Department places importance on strengthening the capacity of the Inspectorates through capacity building and training, and has requested the ILO to assist in building this capacity among its entire cadre of managers and inspectors. Finally, the need to raise the awareness and enable employers and workers at the workplaces to address and resolve the safety and health problem themselves has been recognized. The training, which is expected to enhance the capacity to undertake more effective OSH inspections, is part of a series of capacity building initiatives.

Mr George Vaso, Secretary of Labour and Industrial Relations in his closing remarks emphasized the need for the country to address safety and health issues to maintain a healthy and productive workforce and for the business to remain competitive, highlighting the commitment of the PNG Government towards OSH. He expressed hope that also in the future such training opportunities could be provided to officials in the DLIR.