The OSH Agency was preceded by the Factories Inspectorate which was governed by the Factories Ordinance Chapter 30 No.2, 1950. This was Trinidad and Tobago’s first safety and health legislation, which provided for the making of regulations, thereby laying down safety, health and welfare standards in respect of machinery, plant and hazardous processes.
However, because of technological advances, it was found that the Factories Ordinance became inadequate to cope with the many new hazards which arose as a result of industrial expansion and diversification. As a result, new legislation, the OSH Act was introduced. The Occupational Safety and Health Act No. 1 of 2004, as amended by the OSH Act No. 3 of 2006 (OSH Act) (proclaimed on February 17, 2006) extended the work area, the legal powers of the Inspectors and the obligations for employers and employees. However the regulations developed under the Factories Ordinance remain in force and are deemed to be incorporated under the OSH Act in accordance with Section 98 subsection 2.
The scope and applicability of the OSH Act is to ensure that industrial establishments, in the private and public sectors, manage safety, health and welfare in the workplace using the legal compliance requirements as a minimum standard.
The OSH Agency is the enforcement arm of the OSH Authority. The Head Office is located at #9 Alexandra Street, St. Clair, with satellite offices in Port of Spain, San Fernando and Scarborough which house the Inspectorate.
The operational units within the Inspectorate are divided into three tiers: Safety and Health Inspector Is, Safety and Health Inspector IIs and Senior Inspectors. The Chief Inspector is the head of the Inspectorate and responsible for supervising the work of all the inspectors.
The Occupational Safety and Health Authority and Agency (OSHA), officially commenced operation on August 17th 2007.
The OSH Agency, the enforcing body for the OSH legislation (OSH Act and OSH regulations), is vested with legal powers for its Inspectors to access all industrial establishments, acquire any information needed to carry out investigations and to use its legal intervention powers. The inspectors who report to the Chief Inspector are currently operating in 14 regional sub-units defined by the boundaries of the 14 regional municipalities in Trinidad, as well as a sub-unit in Tobago.
As an enforcement body, the main objective of the OSH Agency is to ensure compliance with the OSH Act in accordance with our enforcement policy that encourages voluntary compliance in the first instance. Therefore public awareness raising, the involvement and sensitisation of tripartite partners and other stakeholders are considered critical in promoting a preventative safety and health culture in Trinidad and Tobago. Close co-operation with other ministries and institutions, as well as supporting OSH training structures and the provision of accessible OSH information are also essential to OSHA’s mandate.
One of the targets for the OSH Agency is to continuously work towards the building and sustaining of a modern, efficient, effective and highly professional Safety and Health Inspection Service that meets international standards. This implies an organisation that will be considered reliable, communicative and accountable, with a high impact and a good image.
The OSH Agency is currently headed by Mrs. Carolyn Sancho, Executive Director