WORKERS at the mortuary of Port of Spain General Hospital yesterday walked off the job, citing health and safety risks at the country's main hospital.
The nine workers were supported in their action by the Public Services Association (PSA).
Contacted for comment, PSA general secretary Nixon Callender said the situation at Port of Spain General Hospital's mortuary was a "total mess".
Callender said the two refrigerators at the mortuary were not functioning properly.
"There are bodies decaying, there is a pungent smell emanating through the entire area, there are foetuses, placentas and effluence leaking from the dead bodies," Callender said.
Callender said the "rotting bodies" could be smelt as far as 200 metres away.
"These people are responsible for transporting and wheeling in dead bodies but not working with rotting, decaying bodies," Callender said.
The workers walked off the job in accordance with Section 15 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
"They are refusing to work because of these violations and therefore will not return to the mortuary until the matter is resolved," Callender said.
Callender said he was scheduled to have a meeting with chief executive officer of the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) Judith Ramoutar to discuss the situation affecting the mortuary workers, among other things.
Port of Spain General Hospital falls under the purview of the NWRHA.
Callender said he walked out the meeting because Ramoutar was "disrespectful" to him.
He visited the mortuary area.
"I was shocked when I went there. I got sick," Callender said.
Callender said the NWRHA is in breach of OSH Act by its failure to have a safety and health committee established.