Guyana: NIS Employees in danger

Kaieteur News:- The forensic audit into the affairs of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) has revealed that employees at the various branch offices are in serious danger.

The Auditor, Ramesh Seebaran, said that the employees are exposed to electric shock and other health hazards. He also noted that already faulty equipment is likely to be further damaged.

Seebaran said that during visits to some NIS offices, including the main branch, auditors noted that the buildings were in dire need of repairs.

He added that the head office is in such a state that it should be closed temporarily for extensive repairs and maintenance.  Seebaran said that the state of the building poses a health risk to employees.

“Whenever it rains, employees, equipment, furniture, records have to be relocated or shifted to prevent further damage because of the leaking roof and the flooding of the compound and surrounding area.”

The NIS audit started during the May-June rainy season. It was noted that during that time “we observed first hand at the Camp Street and Brickdam locations, the leaking roofs and the soaking of furniture as well as records.”
Seebaran reported that in some cases, “buckets were placed to collect the water from spreading further into the buildings which had to be emptied every fifteen minutes.”

According to management, this was a norm whenever it rains.

Further, auditors “witnessed how the pension files stored at Brickdam were being soaked by flood water as rain seeped through the roof and by sewerage water rising from the ground.

In some cases the records/files were damaged to such an extent that it required employees to wear masks and gloves to protect their health before handling them.”

Seebaran reported that things can become even more dangerous, if the water gets into contact with electricity cables and outlets, putting the building at risk from fire and employees at risk of electric shock.

Seebaran said that similar situations also exist at the branch offices in New Amsterdam, Port Mourant and Fort Wellington.

He said that the branch in Melanie is also not suitable.  However, he said that this location has the least of the problems. Seebaran said that the front yard at that location floods whenever it rains.

He recommended that the NIS Board of Directors urgently sets up a committee which must include a Building Engineer.

Seebaran said that members of that committee should inspect all buildings and make recommendations to improve the conditions.

More importantly, the auditor said that the committee should evaluate whether the existing buildings at Camp and Bent Streets and at Brickdam are of the size to house the employees, the records, furniture and equipment they currently hold.