Conduct OSH Audits as a Fact Finding and NOT as a Fault Finding Exercise
We spoke to Dr. Hasit Dangi, Vice President – Operations & QA, National Peroxide Limited to understand the key challenges related to implementing safety regulations within a large organization, key points to be conveyed to employees as part of a safety awareness program and his views on OSH India expo and the role played by it in enhancing OSH awareness.
Interviewed by Adeesh Sharma
What are the key challenges related to implementing safety regulations within a large organisation?
In many large organisations, business goals are mostly aligned with productivity and increased profits and not with OHS. Management fails to recognize OHS as a strategic enabler of sustained economic growth and Business performance is not measured with respect to OHS. As a result, there is no incentive for stakeholders to improve on the OHS performance. Instead, Management views investment in OHS as a luxury or one of those things that are required for compliance. Life cycle approach to OHS is not followed during investment in infrastructure and management systems. In addition, Working population with low literacy rates and an abysmal awareness of occupational health hazards is huge and budget for training and development is comparatively smaller. Many times, the focus on OHS is limited to workplace only and not the Personal Safety outside of workplace.
What are the pre-requisites for safety managers before they conduct a workplace safety audit?
First of all, Safety Manager must gain the technical know-how of workplace. In addition, Safety manager should establish a team comprising of at least three cross-functional people. He must ensure that none of audit team member audits his/her own department, to ensure neutrality and objectivity and should rather involve safety experts from outside of organization for designing and conducting audits. He should understand the purpose of safety audit and also educate other audit team members about the same and ensure that the audit is conducted in line with applicable IS Code of safety audit (IS 14489) and the compliance to applicable regulations and fire codes as well as the detection of unsafe hazards is taken care. He should circulate the Audit Agenda in advance. The opening meeting should be conducted to brief the scope and purpose of audit. In conclusion, conduct audit as Fact Finding and NOT as Fault Finding exercise.
What are some of the key points that you would like to convey to employees as part of an Occupational Safety Communication Program?
We should communicate Management’s commitment on Occupational Health & Safety by proper communication and implementation as well as management’s focus on Zero non-compliance in various Safety meetings with employees. There must be various schemes for Motivating employees for safety implementation by incorporating their OHS performance in performance appraisal. OHS information related to company’s raw materials, product, processes, etc. at various areas must be displayed in a language well understood by employees. Onsite and offsite emergency communication process by engaging employees in safety training and mock drills must be regularly conducted. PPE compliance requirements by displaying PPE Matrix at various areas must also be ensured.
Please tell us about your views on OSH India expo and the role played by it in enhancing OSH awareness.
Although, many organisations have taken initiatives to organize training sessions to create awareness, a concentrated and cohesive strategy is clearly not in place. OSH India expo has certainly helped in filling this vital gap. A two-day safety show of OSH India brought together many internationally renowned safety professionals, consultants and business executives under one roof. It helped them to discuss global practices and seek solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in the field of workplace safety and health.