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IOSH Caribbean Safety and Health Conference 2018

Honing the Skills of the Safety and Health Practitioner

The IOSH Caribbean Branch hosted its very own Safety and Health Conference on Tuesday 20th November 2018 at the Cara Suites Hotel and Conference Centre in Trinidad.  The last Conference of this nature hosted by the Branch was over a decade ago. 

There was an overwhelming response by persons interested in attending the Conference and the final count of delegates far exceeded our early estimates by more than 50%. As a result, registration had to be closed off to the disappointment of many.

The objectives of the Conference were:

  1. To provide a forum to share best practice and facilitate dialogue;
  2. To provide members with an opportunity to enhance their skills via interaction with OSH leaders;
  3. To serve as a catalyst for the modernization of OSH Regulations in the Region;
  4. To provide a forum where experienced professionals share their experience and expertise on practical challenges and solutions in the implementation of OSH programs for injury and illness prevention; and
  5. To strengthen collaboration with local and international regulators.

The Masters of Ceremony were Ria Sooknarine, CB Treasurer, and Karen Lopez, CB Communications Coordinator, who both guided the delegates through the day’s proceedings.

The event was opened by Dr Victor Coombs, Chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Authority of Trinidad and Tobago. Dr Coombs provided statistics of the OSH Authority’s activities over the past three years, which demonstrated an increase in their attempts to enforce the national law and policies. He encouraged all present to continue to develop their skills to ensure a safer and happier work environment throughout the region. 

The Conference Programme included:

  1. Demystifying Risk Assessments - Mr. Anthony Rocheford, General Manager, BAG Consulting
  2. Occupational Medicine – Case Management and Return to Work – Dr Ishvan Ramcharitar, Chief Medical Advisor, Atlantic
  3. Indoor Air Quality: Assessment and Controls – Mr. Harold Oxley CMIOSH, Registered Occupational Hygienist, General Manager, REA Envirohealth International
  4. Anatomy of a Work Fatality or Serious Accident – Mr. Curt Cadet, Senior Manager – HSE & Security, NGC
  5. Women in Safety – Michelle Booker, Global Operations Organisation, BPTT
  6. The Abuse of Permit to Work Systems – Mr. Curt Cadet, Senior Manager – HSE & Security, NGC
  7. A Legal Perspective of Occupational Fatalities and Accidents – Mr. Kevin Ratiram, Attorney at Law
  8. US OSHA’s Outreach Training Program – Annette Braam, Assistant Director, Directorate of Training & Education, US OSHA

This variety of topics was selected to enhance the development of H&S practitioners to better prepare them for their mission in providing a safer work place across all sectors especially in the face of a rapidly changing world of work with dynamic trends in technology, psychology, economic and legal factors.

Exhibitor booths were hosted by some of our Sponsors. Among the booths was the IOSH Caribbean Branch which gave valuable membership information to those interested in joining IOSH.

Another key highlight of the Conference was the inclusion of a working lunch session titled “Women in Safety” which addressed the challenges female OSH practitioners face during the course of their careers. 

This session was led by Ms. Michelle Booker, Global Operations Organisation, bpTT, who outlined her journey to her current position as an OSH leader in her company and the persons that helped her along her journey. She also emphasized that while it is sometimes difficult to balance her career and family duties, she has had an enriching experience and encouraged women to continue to develop their careers when raising a family rather than backing away from responsibilities at work. 

The feature presentation was given by Mrs. Annette Braam, Assistant Director, Office of Training and Educational Programs, US OSHA. Mrs. Braam spoke about the requirements for the US OSHA Training Institute Education Centers and the US OSHA Outreach Training Program. She indicated the willingness of the US OSH Agency to collaborate with local authorities to provide education and training to volunteers in all sectors across the region.

The Conference concluded with what many delegates viewed as the most interesting and informative session of the day, the Speed Networking Session. The “Women in OSHE” Group led this networking session where delegates interacted with the group members to learn about their respective journeys and seek advice and perspectives on various topics.

Overall the Conference received overwhelming positive reviews from delegates, Sponsors, Exhibitors and Presenters. Delegates indicated that they would be interested in attending the Conference every year as they believed that they got value for their money and were able to learn about a multitude of relevant topics from known experts in their field. Special thanks go out to the Conference Sponsors: IRP Fire and Safety Limited, Massy Wood Group, The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, ANSA McAL and Atlantic LNG as well as Ms. Dimple Chauhan – Event Coordinator, at IOSH, and the CB Planning Committee, with special mention to Curt Cadet, immediate Past Chair, for  his efforts in spearheading the event; and Ria Sooknarine, Treasurer, who served as the liaison with the Grange and delegates.