The advent of multinational companies in India has led to many challenges in the field of industrial safety, said K. Ayyanu, Chief Inspector of Factories.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Best health and safety practices in process industries' organised here on Thursday by the Department of Factories and National Safety Council, Madurai Regional sub-committee, he said that modern manufacturing processes used a variety of new raw materials and chemicals, some of which were hazardous in nature. Such hazardous processes necessitated a thorough knowledge and skill to keep the factories safe.

The Bhopal tragedy in 1984 due to leakage of toxic gas from the Union Carbide Factory was the worst industrial disaster, he said, adding that consequently the Factories Act was amended in 1987 with several stringent safety measures being introduced.

However, legislation alone would not suffice and only the complete cooperation and involvement of the management, workers, Government and public could bring about an accident-free environment.

Mr. Ayyanu, who is also the chairman of National Safety Council, Tamil Nadu Chapter, said that such training programmes dealing with occupational health and safety had become essential in view of the massive industrialisation underway in the country.

Speaking later, B.T. Bangera, managing director of Hi-Tech Arai, said that warning and cautioning alone would not work. Safe practices in industry had to be made part of the culture and a way of life. One should practice ‘zero-defects' in all aspects of life.

S. Ismail, Joint Chief Inspector of Factories, Madurai and Chairman of National Safety Council, Madurai Regional sub-committee, urged industrialists to make their units completely free of accidents by ramping up safety features. S. Noel Inbaruban, Coordinator, National Safety Council, also spoke.