Safety should be seen as an investment function by an organisation
We spoke to Gautam Sawhney, Cofounder & CEO, BRiGS ESPRO Services to understand the various safety services provided by their organization, his views on current OSH scenario in India and how it compares to global standards, new products and solution they plan to launch in the Indian market, the industry verticals they focus on and how safety industry can do their bit to alleviate the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Interviewed by Adeesh Sharma
1. Please tell us about your organization.
We started us a service-based company out of Bengaluru. Safety signages are most essential part the safety & continuous improvement culture in an industry. There are signages you see in the industry. You can pick them off the shelf however most times they are not as per your need. We introduced a program called Visual Workplace Program, wherein we go to the facility and do assessment. After doing assessment we suggest customer about the need to have Signages, posters etc. for various functions i.e. pipe marking, safety communication, TPM, etc. Once they approve, we do design. Our business is like a prescription medicine based on the requirements of customers.
We are not just a safety company we are primarily a visual workplace services provider. In an industrial plant what comes to mind is a safety signage but, in any industry, you need to go beyond a safety signage. You need to go beyond that and display information on other tasks like materials handling, navigation through a plant, etc. For a plant to be smart you just don’t want to be safe, you need to be efficient and productive as well. We teach how to make your plant more efficient, safe and productive. Wherever you are carrying inventory and how to visually optimize things. For instance, your car fuel indicator gives you an indication about the amount of fuel left in the tank and it needs to placed in such a way that you can comfortably monitor the fuel level. This is one, next we also suggest tools to improve communication of the management with their team.
2. What are your views on the current OSH scenario in India and how does it compare to global standards?
In a pre-corona scenario we always saw safety as a cost in our industry. Leave aside big organizations and many MNCs, other organisations see safety as a cost function. Safety should be seen as an investment function the way you invest money in marketing to keep customers happy. In today’s scenario post-corona, we see PPE in focus for the first time. Previously it was a commodity item wherein people usually opt for a cheaper product but today we are looking for performance product. In the overall scenario, the management of the companies should focus on committing a resource to make people more aware of safety. It is a problem of Indian scenario whereas we don’t have a strong compliance like OSHA in US and non-government bodies whose credibility can be respected. There is no one to guide people properly. In India we require more commitment from leadership and from govt side, apart from DGFASLI and NSC we need more proactive support to the industry.
3. What are your new products and solutions to be expected in the near future?
Apart from the visual workplace, we are focusing on LOTO in the industry. When you put a LOTO in front of a user in a chemical or steel plant for them LOTO is about putting up a device. 90% in India people buy device and feel their job is now saved. We are focused on how to implement LOTO on end to end basis. You can buy devices but how to use that device, when to implement and what is the process of implementation, these are some of the pertinent questions. You are standing in front of a machine, if someone asks you to put LOTO on that machine—it is a complete process you have to follow SOPs for each machine. We have program called ‘Lets Do LOTO’ where we talk about how to implement LOTO as per global standards. We follow OSHA standards and help customers to apply these standards.
We have now introduced 20 new products and standardizing our solutions such as pipe markers, wall tags, and material safety data signs. Even small companies MSMEs or new companies that don’t want to invest on visual workplace but want to start somewhere, we have created a new platform called Site Sure. We are creating a platform wherein we reach out to major customers from small companies to large customers as well. Now we are available with solutions and products like Spill management, Performance PPEs, Document Management, Machine Safety to name few
There is another useful product called Asset Mate App that we are launching. Every machine has SOPs, check list, lubrication guidelines, however they are not easily accessible to everyone. They are locked in a cabin. Asset Mate is a simple QR based program wherein every machine can be accessed through a small QR from the app. You will have entire information in your phone. With this we will be adding a small element of maintenance. You see a leakage you tag the person, he will get an alert. Your whole plant will get productive.
As an industry body, we need to create more credibility to what exactly safety is. People only talk about safety once they are in the safety domain. We need to come with some kind of program wherein we get more awareness in the market.
4. What kind of industry verticals do you focus on?
Our prime focus is on chemicals, refineries, petrochemicals, pharma, alcohol-beverages, food and food processing. They have pipelines, we do complete process identification and marking etc. We ensure safe and productive workplace through right and quick decision making. You can’t invest too much money into PPE and safety devices. So if a person who has to use these doesn’t know how to use them, the whole exercise shall be futile. Also, you can’t train them every day. Our QSigns and compliance signages in workplace help you learn on a daily basis. Steel is also our focus area and to a certain extent, power and IT.
5. Given the current COVID-19 situation where do you feel the safety industry can help more?
We have to come out in the industry to create a forum where we can invest in a platform to talk how safe and hygienic conduct can be more visible in our society. Rather than just making money, corporates should start creating awareness sessions in industry so people are more aware of this subject. Most engineering graduates are still not taught safety in college.