Tamil Nadu

‘Country’s mindset on occupational health must shift from curative to preventive’

Stating that much needs to be done in the country in relation to occupational health and safety, Shrinivas Shanbhag, past president of Indian Association of Occupational Health, said there was an urgent need to move from a curative to a preventive mindset.

Delivering the 17th Professor Arcot Gajaraj Memorial Oration through a virtual conference organised by The Arcot Gajaraj Educational and Training Program (TARGET) here on Saturday, he said in India, occupational health remained under the mandate of the Ministry of Labour and not the Ministry of Health. He said there was often a lack of coordination between the two ministries.

Apart from ensuring workers’ safety, he said there was a need for companies to focus on occupational safety as it was in their economic interest as well. He recollected his experiences in implementing safety measures when he served as the group medical advisor for Reliance Industries. Girija Vaidyanathan, former Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu, said the unorganised sector, which accounted for a majority of the country’s economy, was largely not under the purview of any occupational safety standards.

While the National Policy on Safety, Health and Environment at Workplace, introduced in 2009, largely covered the organised sector, she expressed hope that the new Labour Code on Occupational Safety, Health And Working Conditions, once implemented, would address some of the policy related gaps.

Sudha S. Ramachandran, senior advisor, occupational health division of Lifetime Wellness Rx International Ltd. (Apollo Life), recollected her interactions with Arcot Gajaraj. A. Jaishree Gajaraj, chairperson, Kausalya Gajaraj Charitable Trust, also spoke.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 11:20:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/countrys-mindset-on-occupational-health-must-shift-from-curative-to-preventive/article37145777.ece

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