Raw Material business involves mining, manufacturing and disposal of the RM. All the three businesses have implications not only on the environment but also on the health and safety of the workers involved. Year 2011 recorded 2.3 million fatalities. To create cognizance on this critical issue, MILS welcomed ‘Mumbai Port Trust Dock & General Employees Union’ to organize a collaborative seminar on “Challenges before Occupational Health & Safety in the Context of Globalization”.
The event commenced with the unveiling of an awareness film ‘Bas Thodi Savdhani’ by Shri S. K. Shetye, President, MTP Dock & General Employees Union. The film features importance of PPE nd various safety measures for the Ship-Breaking workers in simple and easy language. The film accounts to noteworthy initiative on OHS by Mr. Vidhyadhar Rane, Secretary MTP Dock & General Employees Union and his entire team.
Next followed a technical discussion on Occupational Health & Safety measures in India. Key learning from the event are detailed below:-
OHS – A Long Term Benefit
Mr. J R Bhosle, General Secretary, WREU & Treasurer HMS, held that in today’s globalised economy, Trade Unions demand for wage or bonus increase, however, they do not stand for decent safety standards.
Mr. V. B. Sant, Director General, National Safety Council revealed the ILO research stating that ‘Investment on OHS pays in the long run’. According to the International Social Security study, investment of $1 on prevention of Occupation Health & Safety, gives a return of $2.2 return benefit. A similar study by NSC showed that Rs. 1 investment leads to benefit of Rs. 2.1 benefit in the long run.
The Japanese Story
Akira San, Health & Safety in charge at JBU, laid out the Japanese perspective. Japan statistics reveal people working for less number of years are more prone to accidents. In the first five years of joining, the fatality rate is about 34%. Therefore, safety training in the initial years becomes essential.
He emphasized on the following two best practices that helped reduce the fatality rate at JBU drastically:
Greeting – “Be Safe”
At JBU, the employees no longer greet each other with ‘Ohayō Gosai Mas’ (Good Morning) or Konichiwa (Hello) when they meet each other, instead they use “Be Safe” to greet each other at all locations.
Such a greeting has increased the employee’s accountability, not only for their personal safety, but also the safety of others.
Risk Prediction Activity
Every month, there is a meeting to discuss the potential risk areas and how to fix the problem. Immediate action is taken on the same.
Hitches to OHS in India
Dr. Rajan Mehrotra, former Sr. Specialist on Employers’ Activities for South Asia with ILO, reflected on challenges to OHS in India. Such challenges owe mainly to the “Chalega” attitude towards Safety. Due to this, safety is discarded and there is non-use of safety ware.
Another challenge involves in people taking risks. They are unaware of the right way to perform the job and work under the pressures of getting the task done. Mr. Sharad Patil, Secretary General, Employers’ Federation of India, believes that biggest risk is to the informal sector and the contract labourers. Both are neglected. They often face occupational hazards and do not have adequate occupational health services.
Learnings from the Seminar
“Beginning each morning with a 5 min ‘Safety Talk’ can bring a drastic change to the way health and safety is perceived in an organization”, said Mr. Sharad Patil. Solution to the OHS problem is to make it a ‘way of life’. This has to be done through continuous training and by creating a Prevention Culture at the workplace. A few recommendations on strengthening occupational health and safety, by the experts, are detailed below:-
About Mumbai Port Trust Dock & General Employees Union
MPTDGEU is the oldest union for Ship Breaking workers, started by Mr Shanti Patel. It has made a huge effort to achieve workers’ rights and social justice in the ship breaking yards of Mumbai and Alang in India.
About LNML Maharashtra Institute of Labour Studies
LNML Maharashtra Institute of Labour Studies is an independent department under Maharashtra Labour Ministry. It is one of its kinds in the field of labour studies. It has a glorious past of 67 years and has emerged as a stronger body which has contributed to the economy and industry in many ways.
You can connect to LNML Maharashtra Institute of Labour Studies through the following website –
Website – http://www.mils.co.in/
Maharashtra Government Website – http://mahakamgar.gov.in/MahLabour/mils-index.htm