OSH INDIA Hyderabad
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Venue: Bombay Exhibition Centre,Hall-4, Goregaon (E), Mumbai on 25-26 November 2021.

Lloyd’s Register plans to help organisations deal with issues and concerns related to the pandemic and newer ways of working

We spoke to Rajesh Chhatre, Senior Auditor, Lloyd’s Register to understand Lloyd’s Register’s focus areas in spreading OSH awareness in India, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic, how they believe this pandemic shall change the way organisations look at occupational safety & health of employees, the ways in which they promote OSH awareness within India with their training/support programs and initiatives they plan to introduce to further their mission.

Interviewed by Adeesh Sharma

1. What are Lloyd’s Register’s focus areas in spreading OSH awareness in India, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic?

Lloyd’s register (LR) has always given paramount importance to Occupational Health and Safety of its own employees and the clients that they serve. It is on the top of the priority list for everyone in Lloyd’s Register. When the pandemic struck LR was proactive in taking every possible step to prevent the spread within its employees and to the clients through exposure to the inspectors and auditors. To ensure that the business is protected, and revived post the aftermath Lloyd’s Register brought in new and innovative process in delivering the services to the clients. These were launched as “Future ways of working”.

Lloyd’s Register’s focus areas is to propagate these “Future ways of working”. These include use of technology in conducting remote audits, delivering services to clients by ensuring the employees and the clients are safe. Remote audits, inspections using drones, video cameras are becoming a norm. Through its client engagements and audits LR is imparting knowledge about these methodologies to the clients and imparting trainings to the clients to embrace these technology solutions. New risk assessments have been introduced to ensure that the new ways of working at carried out safely. Be it “working from Home” or conducting audits remotely using ICT all are risk assessed to ensure safety and well-being of the employees and all those who are involved.

Effective communication has always been a key to ensure safety. By providing right and timely information the employees and the clients are kept well informed. These communications enable the employees and clients to take well informed decisions and ensure that employees well-being is safe guarded.

Through audits and interactions during the audits, LR auditors are sharing the best practices, adopted by the industry to protect their employees, with the clients. Protection against COVID – 19 and preparedness has become an important and essential aspect of every audit interaction.

2. How do you believe this pandemic shall change the way organisations look at occupational safety & health of employees?

This pandemic has brought in several changes in the way organisation dealt with occupational health and safety

• Increased importance on employee wellbeing – Organisations had to face a lot of disruptions due to lack of manpower. Some of the organisation who could afford and manage to retain the manpower had to put in extra efforts in ensuring the health and well-being of the employees. This will now force the organisation to think proactively towards the health and hygiene of the employees and the way they work.

• Traditional methods will be challenged: Many organisation who faced business disruptions were quick to adopt newer and innovative ways of doing work. This included re-structuring the layouts, processes and redesigning the workstations. Technological solutions where possible were adopted to ensure less exposure of humans to each other. Social distancing, Personal hygiene became pre-requisite in everything that the industry did and thus had to re-define the ways of working. Additional risk assessments have been introduced where there are Labour intensive processes and where risk of exposure is higher. This also resulted in increased health surveillances for the employees.

• Increased focus on health monitoring and medical check-ups: Organisation had to increase the medical surveillances to ensure that the employees are healthy and are not affected. This has also resulted in organisations putting up additional framework, infrastructure for the health checkups and care centers for those who are affected.

• Dealing with risks posed due to newer methods of working: New processes, new ways of working, new infrastructure, use of technology, in short, the change was introduced with such a speed that it by itself posed challenges and risks to people embracing those changes. The risks had to be dealt with and with long term solutions. Work related stress is on the rise and posing newer threat. Organisations had to adopt methods and means to engage with employees ate several levels to address the work-related stress. Employee health and well-being programs have been introduced by many organisations to help the employees tackles with their own personal and professional concerns to avoid stress. Professional bodies and experts on health and hygiene and employee well-being have been appointed by organisations to assist their employees to overcome the work-related stress.

3. What are the ways in which you promote OSH awareness within India? Please specify your training/support programs?

Internally, Lloyd's Register has implemented several programs to help its employees deal with the pandemic related issues and concerns. To embrace newer ways of working Lloyd’s register is providing every assistance to its office based as well as field-based employees. This includes making the infrastructure available for ease of doing work from home, Special PPEs, required by the field staff to safely discharge their duties. Lloyd’s Register has implemented process of regular communications with its employees to keep them updated with information they would require. There are several training programs and sessions carried out and made available to employees on its E-learning platform on embracing “Future ways of working” and on employee health and well-being. Externally, Lloyd’s Register has introduced several training programs for its clients to promote OSH awareness. LR has re-designed some of its existing training programs to deliver those to the clients to increase OSH awareness. Predominantly, the trainings are aligned with services Lloyd’s Register offers to its clients. Training programs on remote auditing, inspections using technology have been introduced and are running well. One of the leading products of Lloyd’s Register is certification of OSH management system to ISO 45001:2018. This has also been re-designed and redefined to include due importance to employee health, hygiene and well-being. Organisations that are certified to the standard ISO 45001:2018 are finding it easier to tackle with the pandemic as the management system framework exists to address emergencies. Lloyd’s Register’s auditors ensure that health and hygiene is focussed on top priority in every audit and share industry best practices with clients to help them build robust and resilient management systems to address pandemic like situations.

4. Going forward, what specific initiatives you plan to introduce to further your mission?

Going forward, Lloyd’s Register plans to partner with its clients to bring in customised solutions to help organisations deal with issues and concerns related to pandemic and newer ways of working. LR intends and is working on designing specific training programs on remote auditing, newer ways of working, Risk Assessments, Employee well-being for different types of industries and clients. Be it MSME or large-scale organisation and from any industrial sector, LR will be able to deliver customised solutions in the field of Occupational health & Safety and Food Safety. Lloyd’s Register’s certification of occupational health and safety management system to international standard Iso 45001:2018 is already helping many clients to be proactive in addressing the issues and concerns related to employee’s health and safety, well-being and prevent injuries and accidents