This is part of the ongoing process of reform launched last year in May 2018. Consultants Shaw Idea will be in country February 25 to conduct more consultations with the Cook Islands community.
The ministry says: “Through written submissions, issues papers, vaka meetings and individual meetings, our community has been able to raise and discuss their concerns around workplace safety and health.
“Reading and commenting on the draft policies is yet another opportunity to make sure that this legislation is fit for our purpose and needs here in the Cook Islands.
“Once the draft policies are reviewed, finalised and adopted, they will serve the basis for the legislative instructions for the new bill and its regulations.
“It is of common understanding that each of us is responsible for stopping deaths and injuries in the workplace.
“As workers we are responsible to work safely and to protect ourselves and not endanger others, to know our rights, and to participate in implementing preventive measures.
“As employers we are responsible for ensuring that the workplaces are safe and without risk to health and safety.
“As Government, we are responsible for providing the infrastructure – laws and services – necessary to ensure that workers remain employable and that enterprises flourish: This includes the development of a national policy and programme and a system of inspection to enforce compliance with Occupational Safety and Health legislation and policy.”
The ministry adds: “Indeed, providing a strong regulatory framework to prevent and limit the risks of injuries and illnesses in the workplace is a priority. The lives of every single one of us cannot continue to be compromised by unsafe practices, unpractical laws and unhealthy work environment. In a developed country such as ours, with an ever strong productive economy, our citizens should all be confident that they will be going home safely to their loved ones after each day of work.”