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Most small businesses lack occupational safety guidelines

Most small businesses in Samoa lack occupational safety and health guidelines within their workplaces.

This is according to the Accident Compensation Corporation (A.C.C.) Manager (safety promotion and rehabilitation division), Fagalima Tuatagaloa, in a recent interview with Samoa Observer.

The Occupational and Safety Framework 2018/19-2022/23 strives to improve occupational safety and health (O.S.H.) guidelines at the national level within both the public and private sectors.

The framework is part of the Government’s aim to promote a culture of prevention and enhance governance, ownership and capacity building within occupational safety and health, and eliminating or minimizing work-related deaths, accidents, injuries or diseases.

Mr. Tuatagaloa said they are working closely with the Government, non-government organisations and individual agencies to provide the assistance that is needed by employees to ensure safety in their workplaces.

“I believe that there is no work place that does not have a working condition entitlements and one element of this is O.S.H. that deals with employees. 

“Another factor is pushing for policy and governance development in work places to promote safety and health - from observations and investigations conducted – the findings showcase the majority of small businesses that lack O.S.H. guidelines.

“And even small precautions like displayed visuals, not just for employees but also the visitors coming into the workplace, to ensure that there is always an industrial zone or indicate that areas are safe," he added. 

Failure by employers to pay for the establishment O.S.H. guidelines within companies also came under scrutiny, with Mr. Tuatagaloa saying the companies should have budgeted for it. 

“Early reporting of accidents occurred is also a big issue and there are a lot of unreported accidents in workplaces which fail to be reported to our organisation or at times very late.

“I advise the employers to please report anything that happen to their employees because it is important to record data on accident related cases but we also have an interest in accidents not related which will contribute to future changes in the legislations,” he said. 

Mr. Tuatagaloa said the core functions of A.C.C. include safety promotions and accident prevention, rehabilitation of accident victims, investigations and payments by accident victims and their dependents.

“It is from these core functions in the principal acts 1999 of A.C.C. that the functions are to be carried out by safety promotion and rehabilitation division with regards to safety promotion. 

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