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Marcus Charles DOMLEC's Safety Representative
Marcus Charles DOMLEC's Safety Representative

Remarkably, no one was electrocuted, or seriously hurt, by electrical power lines during and after Hurricane Maria, the category five storm that rained death and destruction on Dominica on 18 September 2017, officials of the Dominica Electricity Services (DOMLEC) said last week.

"We had incidents where people got, you know, injuries, for example, foot injuries or other bodily injuries, all of these could have been avoided," said Brandon Henry, Health and Safety Officer at DOMLEC who added that there has not been an electrocution in Dominica since 1999.

This highlights the high level of safety that the company has adopted in its operations over the years.

Last week DOMLEC using the theme "Your Safety, Your Health, Your Wealth" launched its "Health, Safety and Environment Month" campaign at a press conference at its Fond Cole office.

"Safety is our number one priority at DOMLEC. The health and safety of our staff, our customers and indeed the general public is of paramount importance to us," said Dave Stamp, the acting general manager. "We sincerely believe that all accidents and injuries are preventable. And therefore with this in mind, it is our goal to achieve world class safety levels by year 2021. A critical aspect of this noble aspiration is the assurance that all of the above mentioned stakeholders are aware, and therefore, will be in a position to take on this journey with us".

At the press conference Marcus Charles, DOMLEC Safety Representative drew the public's attention to the growing, and dangerous, trend of walking while texting on smart phones.

"The Highway Safety Association reports nearly 6000 pedestrians struck and killed by motor vehicles in the US in 2017 as a result of texting while walking; another 1,450 died from other forms of accidents while texting and walking. Eleven thousand injuries were also reported from texting while walking," said Charles. "These incidents of death and injury is on a rapid increase as those devices become available to persons. Based on the statistics, sometimes we think that we are very good at multitasking so we can walk and use away electronic devices". Charles said the accidents that occur when one walks and texts include falling into open drains, bumping into poles, walking straight into traffic, falling down stairs, bouncing into other persons, "just to name a few".

"Trust me that can happen to any one of us," Charles said. "Because I know most of us do it even at our homes, while walking around the house we either are watching a video, or we text. But these statistics will tell us how dangerous that is. New Jersey has imposed an $85 fine for texting while walking. The largest city in Hawaii has also introduced a $99 fine for walking and texting at the same time. So the message I would like to send out is please, some of us think we are very good at it. But please, if you have to use your device for any reason you should stop and use your device. Please do not try to walk and text or walk and watch videos at the same time. This is very dangerous".

DOMLEC says one of the highlights of its month-long campaign is a series of talks to school children around the island.