The Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) is again accusing the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) of negligence, after three more T&TEC workers exhibited flu-like symptoms and were sent to the Eric Williams Medical Complex Hospital, Mt Hope for Covid-19 testing on Monday night.
It came one day after the union revealed that a T&TEC worker was quarantined.
In a statement on Tuesday, the OWTU claimed all four worked together and were assigned to the same project at Park and Flament Streets in Port of Spain at T&TEC’s 6.6KB sub-station.
It said the commission failed to halt work on the project after the infections and continued to put workers at risk.
OWTU said the commission also failed to adhere to the Temporary Work Arrangements and the necessary Ministry of Health guidelines to protect workers.
“T&TEC continues to issue substandard PPE (face masks and gloves) where several of these face masks cannot pass a simple candle test.” Further, the union notes that the commission’s own unilateral precautions are inadequate and have not been shared with staff.
It also noted that the commission prematurely brought back out workers which allegedly violated its agreement to concentrate on emergency work only (emergency work in the context of Covid-19 was clearly defined in a meeting held with the commission on March 25, 2020).
The union is therefore calling on T&TEC’s management to act responsibly by adhering to the well-thought-out agreed arrangements and place the workers’ safety as its number one priority.
Meanwhile, in a statement yesterday, T&TEC said that the commission continues to be guided by the protocols set out by the Ministry of Health and related state agencies regarding Covid-19.
“To this end, any possible case of Covid-19 infection is forwarded to the health authorities for guidance and further action if required. The Ministry of Health is the designated authority for disseminating any information to the public on Covid-19 cases. The Commission is further guided by its established policy for the management of contagious and communicable diseases.”
T&TEC noted it has since installed physical barriers, hand-wash sinks and sanitising liquid dispensers and it has begun the use of infrared thermometers to screen all persons (employees and the public) entering buildings and the distribution of masks and related PPE to all staff for use on the job.
Additionally, it added that staff are either being rotated to limit the number of persons in buildings or assigned staggered arrival and departure times to further minimise interaction.