By Alfred Sasako
WINLEX International SI Company Ltd, the company accused of ignoring safety issues at its Lunga plant, has begun importing personal protective equipment for its 350-plus workers, a spokesman for the company told Island Sun yesterday.
Most of this arrived in the country about two weeks ago, spokesman George Rifasia said.
These include 50 hard hats, 50 pairs of gumboots, 300 safety vests, 300 pairs of goggles, 300 pairs of ear plugs and 500 pairs of hand gloves. We have begun issuing these items to employees, he said.
“The next phase will include safety boots, which would be on order as soon as we have completed putting together our response to a show cause notice, which we hope to complete by this weekend, Mr Rifasia said.
Winlex International SI Company Ltd – the only wood veneer company in the country – was quick to act following an accident at the Lunga Plant about three weeks ago.
An employee lost two fingers in the accident, which prompted the Labour Division to undertake an inspection of the plant to ascertain safety of workers.
“It is out of the recommendations by the Labour inspectors that the company moved quickly to purchase the personal protection and safety gear for its workers. This is only the first phase of the upgrade of safety at the plant,” Rifasia said.
He said the man who initially reported safety issues to the Labour Division was someone who was sacked a few years ago.
“We are not sure but it would seem he has something against the company. We are now moving forward, although we are disappointed that the company had been issued a show cause notice.
“This was after they had withdrawn their initial stop work prohibition order, giving the company 30 days to issue its workers the personal safety gear that it obtained from overseas,” Rifasia said.
Rifasia said he is confident the show cause notice being worked on would satisfy the Labour Division inspectors.
“We are confident that the welfare of the workers would also be taken into account, given the economic difficulties families are going through today,” he said.