Developing and expanding DEH workforce capacity

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Published 12th August 2021, 11:45am

The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) conducted a three-day training session on Hazardous Materials (HazMat) - Basic for members of the team who in their work roles potentially have to come in contact with hazardous waste.

The recently concluded training aimed primarily to allow persons to do their jobs safely by being able to recognize hazards and characterize risks presented by hazardous materials. Also in preparation for a DEH special project that involves sorting, packing and shipping hazardous wastes for overseas disposal as certain items cannot be disposed of locally.

Conducted in three sessions (17th and 24th June and 1st July), the group of 15 participants were exposed to classroom lessons and practical sessions demonstrating the use of equipment, simulation exercises and a final graded exam.

Supporting the goal of developing and expanding capacity in the DEH workforce Mr. Richard Simms, Director of the Department of Environmental Health encouraged the team to continue to take advantage of the training opportunities now available for them. “Knowledge is power. Once you know what you have to do, you have half of the battle already won. The other half is performance and discipline. We are making training available to you by transferring knowledge to maintain continuity of operations while ensuring the development of safe work practices throughout the department”, Mr Simms said.

The in-house training was provided by Antoinette Johnson, DEH Lab Manager who is a Certified Industrial Hygienist with years of experience in HAZWOPER, Emergency Response, Risk Assessment and Occupational Health and Safety.

Some of the topics of this awareness training on Hazardous Materials were:

• Characterizing hazardous wastes

• Identification of containers

• Proper transport

• Labelling and storage

• Ways hazardous materials can enter the body and impact on health

• Choice and use of appropriate personal protective equipment

• How to respond to emergencies.

Participants came from a wide cross-section of the DEH, a holistic approach which included staff from different specialties, various levels of experience and areas of responsibilities. Caring now for a better future!