Review of Child Labour Laws of Barbados
Judicial Authority Section 42 grants the Court the power to make orders as to dangerous conditions. It states as follows: Where the Chief Labour Officer is satisfied that
any part of the ways, works, machinery or plant used in a factory is in such a condition, is so constructed or is so placed that it cannot be used without risk of bodily injury;
any process or work is carried on or anything is or has been done in any factory in such a manner as to cause risk of bodily injury or endanger health; or
a factory is in such condition or is so constructed or placed that any process or work carried on cannot be carried on with due regard to the safety, health and welfare of the persons employed in that factory, he may bring a complaint before a magistrate. The magistrate may prohibit the use of that part or process absolutely or subject to conditions.
This provision is of general application and not specific to young persons. There is no provision for tripartite consultations.
There is a legal framework for the protection of the health and safety of young persons but its provisions are limited to the industrial sector. This is inadequate for the requirements of the ILO Conventions. There is need for a more comprehensive framework for health and safety of young persons throughout the economy.
The Convention includes several flexibility provisions. Apart from the exception for light work, it permits the exclusion of limited categories of work for which special and substantial problems arise. The procedure requires the Government to consult with the social partners in its determination of excluded categories. However, work that is likely to jeopardize the health, safety or morals of young persons may not be excluded. Moreover, States must review excluded categories on an ongoing basis and make progress towards eliminating the special and substantial problems, which make broad application difficult.
While Barbados has made no express declaration on ratification of ILO Convention No. 138 regarding limitation of the scope of the Convention or introducing a lower age for light work, it seems that its legislative practice has been in line with such a limitation. The general age for the admission to employment or work fixed at 16 years is limited to a small section of the economy equivalent to the minimum areas prescribed in Article 5 Paragraph 3 of the Convention. All other areas are excluded from the minimum age even though there was no declaration by Barbados regarding the limitation of the scope of the Convention.