Smell drives out ambulance staff

Union rep Romel Murphy.
Union rep Romel Murphy.

A bad odour drove about ten workers of the Barbados Ambulance Service from their Jemmotts Lane headquarters outdoors this morning.

National Union of Public Workers representative Romel Murphy said that the staff who were on the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift, detected the smell around 11 and were forced to temporarily abandon the building.

He explained that it stemmed from ongoing construction work where the workmen had begun to tear up flooring from another part of the building in which they are located. He said originally it had been indicated that a polythene barrier would have been erected to seal the construction area from their work space, but it had not been done by the time workmen began to dismantle the floor.

“They were doing the repairs to the floor but then we started to get some odours when the floor was taken up, so the workers had to leave the building. At this time I know the workmen and the manager on the project are trying to rectify it and they have indicated that,” said Murphy.

In addition to the erection of the polythene barrier, the union rep said management on the project had also indicated that air condition technicians had been called in to clean the AC units once the area was sealed.

“I want to say though that it has not interrupted the flow of calls or the dispatch of ambulances to the island,” Murphy indicated to Barbados TODAY when asked about the handling of emergency calls in the interim.

He said there was at least one person handling the calls at all times, so the issue at hand was not a case of the workers not wanting to do their jobs, but that they were hampered from doing so to the usual capacity by the presence of the odour.

The work on the building, he said begun about a week ago, and indicated that roofing had also been removed from the building. He said he was assured and was therefore confident that the matter would be resolved by the end of the day.

He noted that he had tried but had not been as yet successful in officially reporting the matter to the NUPW’s, Roslyn Smith, but would do as soon as was possible.

When Barbados TODAY followed up later this evening, Murphy reported that the promised barrier had been erected and the area sealed, and technicians had been to clean and clear the AC units.

“The workmen came and did what they had to do to erect the polythene. Then shortly the AC guys … came as well, so we are not getting the smell, it has stopped. The staff was able to return to work shortly after 1 [p.m.],” he reported. (LB)

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