NSC director general flags lack of safety in MSMEs

Says govt. has big role to play in curbing workplace hazards

A senior government official has highlighted the need to bring about occupational safety in the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector.

“Big organisations are doing better or willing to do even better in safety aspect. But what about the organisations at the bottom of the pyramid — the small, micro enterprises, the medium enterprises? And that is a big challenge,” said V.B. Sant, director general, National Safety Council (NSC), a Government of India organisation.

“India has a long way to go before achieving excellence in safety. On a scale of one to 10, we are between two and three only, in the light of measures adopted in advanced countries,” Mr. Sant said at an occupational safety and health conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in Mumbai.

He said the government has a big role to play in promoting safety among firms, and that safety inspectors should be facilitators rather than inspectors. “The government, while granting incentives, loans or subsidies, should also make safety a part of the eligibility conditions, that can change the paradigm for occupational safety,” Mr. Sant said.

Global concern

Occupational hazards at the workplace have caused concern worldwide. Ellen White, Global Business Director, 3M while speaking at the event said, “Laxity in OHS (Occupational Health & Safety) has cost the world about US$ 1.25 trillion or 4% of the world economy. The figure for Asian nations was at 10-20% of their GDP.”

A total of 7,500 people lose their lives every day due to occupational hazards, Ms. White said.

Anil Verma, chairman, CII Task Force on Industrial Safety, and president and executive director, Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd, said, “With several investors focusing on investments in companies with noble causes including occupational safety themes, it has become an incentive for companies to follow safety aspects. Some companies believe that safety is a hindrance to growth; that thought must be changed.”

With the growth in manufacturing sector in the country, experts have batted in favour of OHS and building an ecosystem for diverse workplace. “We are moving towards a future where the mindset of people has changed. Topics like gender bias are actively discussed and addressed. There is an awareness to cater to different physical forms, which helps to make equipment for those with disability,” said Vilas Gaikwad, chief of safety, Tata Steel.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 7:15:12 AM |

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