IUF logo; clicking here returns you to the home page.
Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

Fatal Workplace Accidents Highlight Health & Safety Problems in Jamaican Sugar Industry

Posted to the IUF website 10-Jun-2005

Share this article.

IUF affiliates in the Jamaican sugar industry are campaigning for the government to improve health and safety measures in the sector following a series of fatal accidents. On March 31, a machinist at the Long Pond factory died as a result of injuries sustained when a cane knife exploded, scattering metal fragments. Two other workers were injured in the accident. On April 21, an estate worker was buried under 30 tonnes of sugar while cleaning a silo. Reports indicate that in both cases health and safety procedures were not being followed.

On June 5, three workers and two family members were killed in their residences on the Monymusk Sugar Estate when an electrical short circuit caused a fire.

An IUF meeting on health and safety and gender equality issues in the Jamaican sugar and banana industries, organized with the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) and the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU), was held on May 16-18 in Kingston. The meeting formally called on the government to investigate the April 21 and March 31 fatal workplace accidents and to take corrective measures. A second resolution of the meeting called on the government to ratify, as a matter of urgency, ILO Convention 184 on health and safety and agriculture and to pass the national regulations on workplace health and safety. Delegates from all Jamaican sugar estates and the two major banana plantations took part in the meeting.