Saturday 24 October, 2020

PTSC refutes unions’ claims again, says workers have appropriate PPE

The Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) is responding to what it describes as “misrepresentations” about its response to COVID-19 by members of the Transport and Industrial Workers Union (TIWU) and a representative of the National Trade Union Centre of Trinidad and Tobago (NATUC).

The PTSC says contrary to the trade unions’ claims, it does in fact care about the health and safety of its employees.

It says it has worked closely with the two representative unions - the Public Services Association (PSA) and TIWU - which have both agreed to the safety protocols implemented to protect employees, commuters and their families. 

“We are in compliance with the requirements of the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization and in some cases, exceed these requirements.”

The PTSC further contends that it continues to provide the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers who need it.

It says the PPE provided to the bus sanitisation personnel, as required by job description, are lab coats, half-face respirators, safety goggles or face shields, latex gloves, 18-inch rubber gloves and rubber boots. 

“Like all our safety protocols, this equipment meets if not exceeds the requirements and is on par with the PPE used by other government agencies conducting sanitisation, such as the Inter-Island Ferries and Water Taxi.”

“We continue to ensure that all our buses are sanitised after every trip as per our stringent PTSC COVID-19 Policy which exceeds international standards where other bus companies usually sanitise their fleet once per day.”

In addition, the corporation says it has approved further physical measures to protect both drivers and commuters.

This includes cordoning off the two rows of seats immediately behind the driver, creating a safe social distancing zone.

It adds that a physical protective plastic barrier has been installed around the driver enclosure.

Other measures include staggered start times which allows drivers to report to work closer to departure times for trips and to leave soon after. 

Protocols have also been created for passengers.

“As a new measure for persons entering at bus stops along our routes, the PTSC will be installing hand sanitiser dispensers on all buses. The corporation has adopted a strict No Mask/No Service policy as guided by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, thus providing another layer of protection in all our buses and offices. The use of thermal scanning is an additional precautionary measure, but not mandatory. Thermal scanning is used on all persons entering all our office locations.”

PTSC says passenger capacity has also been reduced to 50 percent.

The statement ended with the assurance that all efforts are being undertaken to protect both workers and the travelling public. 

“Our commuters are guided to follow all social distancing while on the platform with the use of social distancing signage and markers. This is enforced by PTSC personnel and security guards. 
The PTSC continues to implement the necessary safety measures, as far as reasonably practicable, to ensure the health and safety of our employees, commuters and their families.”

NATUC held a conference on Friday detailing concerns from some of its members which contradict the sentiments expressed in the PTSC release.

This includes reports of insufficient and improper PPE.

Earlier this month, the PTSC issued a similar statement refuting NATUC’s allegations that workers have not been provided with disposable suits.




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