CHENNAI: A four-day consultation for developing toolkits to improve occupational safety and health conditions of the workforce in southeast Asia got underway on Monday at Sri Ramachandra University, Porur.
The toolkits would be used to take inexpensive measures to limit occupational exposure to chemicals and dust pollution. The consultation committee would also look at ways to improve the occupational safety and health conditions of workforce at the stone crushing and silica mining units in India.
The consultation follows successful experiments in the U.K. by small and medium enterprises. Their initiatives had enthused the World Health Organisation (WHO) to standardise and recommend the procedure across the world, said Marilyn Fingerhut of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the U.S.
The U.K. enterprises developed a risk management toolbox listing hazardous substances used, with their effects and risks of exposure. The list carried information about the precautions and corrective measures to be taken if exposed to the chemicals.
WHO’s Western Pacific region representative Hisashi Ogawa said that globally occupational health was the tenth leading cause of death. With the World Health assembly endorsing a global plan of action on workers’ health from 2008 to 2017 to promote primary prevention occupational risk management, toolkits have gained prominence, he said.
The need for such a consultation was felt following the 2002 World Health report that found that work-related risk factors were responsible for the loss of about 30 million disability-adjusted life years (DALY) globally. Of this 27 per cent was from southeast Asian countries, said H.N. Saiyed, WHO Southeast Asia region representative.