ST. KITTS DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR TO RELOCATE

Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 15, 2018 (SKNIS): A second round of testing by the St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards (SKNBS) has confirmed that “remediation is not recommended” for the building that houses the Department of Labour on Church Street.

In a report dated December 20, 2017 it states “the areas that were tested are relatively low with mould spores” and adds that “as humans, we are exposed to this level of concentration on a daily basis.” The analysis follows a previous report on July 27, 2017, which said the SKNBS found “no indication of obnoxious odours” nor visual “sign of water damage” that would negatively impact the indoor air quality within the Department of Labour.

Concerns about the unusual level of carbon dioxide during peak occupancy hours led officials at the Ministry of Labour to contract professional services to assess the air conditioning and ventilation system. Technicians installed return ducts and grilles in the building to improve the suction of odours/fragrances; dampers were installed in all supply grilles to control the flow of air to each area; and fresh intake systems were installed on each air conditioning unit which enhanced the ability to pull fresh air from the outside.

The professionals reported that the outlined procedures and others taken “would significantly improve the air quality in these spaces.”

In a statement late last month, Senior Minister and Minister of Labour, Honourable Vance Amory, stated that any reports of staff discomfort must be addressed in a serious way given that the ministry’s leadership is “clearly concerned about the health of those persons who work for the government.”

In spite of the positive reports regarding the safe indoor air quality at the Church Street building, the leadership in the Ministry of Labour has decided to “err on the side of caution” and relocate the staff of the Department of Labour to another building.

The department’s Permanent Secretary, Ron Dublin-Collins, said a number of steps will be taken to ensure that the new location is properly sanitized and cleaned before it is occupied. Additionally, new furniture will be purchased for the staff to use and all workers reporting ill will be referred to government appointed physicians.

In the interim, member of the general publc with labour-related concerns can visit the Ministry of Labour at Government Headquarters. Additional updates will be provided as they become available.

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