Why Is It Required To Satisfy The Inspector? Instead of Doing That, Define The Standard and Comply With It
We spoke to Durga Prasad Dora, Senior HSE Specialist, to understand the key challenges in implementing safety regulations, steps are required to get the workers to accept and follow safety related norms, support given by his organization in enforcing safety at the workplace and about your views on OSH India expo and the role played by it in enhancing OSH awareness.
Interviewed by Adeesh Sharma
What are The key challenges of implementing safety regulations?
Safety Regulation says- Walk on the left side of the road- There is no Foot path on left side of the road- then how to follow safety Guideline? SAFETY REGULATIONS are unlike INCOME TAX / GST regulation which can be applied to the citizen of India at anywhere in the country as on where on Basis.
Safety Regulation has to be specific.
Generic Safety guidelines for a country like India may not be relevant. Safety Guide line, depends on the place of work/ type of work/ availability of instructions/ Availability of procedures/ urban/ Semi urban/village /Remote area/ Knowledge level of the public/ Availability of competent person to explain & monitor the safety guide line / facilitation of safety awareness , So that it can be followed effectively at that place of Business (Place of Work).
Let me tell you with Examples:
1a.) First of all Safety Regulations are not made available (or) Very Generic (or) not specific for the activity being performed. This result in no implementation of regulations.
Let me site few examples out of hundreds and thousands of safety clauses that I know:
Example 1: There is no Specific Occupational Health & Safety regulation in India for the persons working in millions in Indian commercial establishments. (They are neither coming under factory Act, nor on Pollution control Act.
Applicable Shops & Establishment Act for these organisations do not address Occupational Health & Safety of the employees. “Chapter Six” of the “Shops & Establishment Act” with header “Health & Safety” is not relevant considering the volume of Work force in this sector at different locations, varied environment conditions, undergoing stress on the potential for illness etc.
Deviations: In all retail shops we may find the valid license hanging on the wall. However, on interaction with the owner, you may end up knowing that, the owner do not know such clause is present in the licence.
Example 2: Unlike ambient air quality standards in India, which have been first proposed in 1988 and further upgraded in 2009, no indoor / work place air quality standard protocols or guidelines for IAQ monitoring in different indoor environments (i.e. commercial, institutional, residential and sensitive buildings) currently exist. Ref. Journal of Civil & Environmental Engineering.
No regulation –No Implementation- No monitoring – No Compliance – At least in my 10 years of Occupational Health & Safety and Environment Audit experience, no organisation has measured and monitored the work place particulate material and other chemical gases effectively.
Consequences: Many many people are affected because they are ignorant about it/ they are working because they are habituated to it/ No other go, Bread earning for them. However, as there is no immediate effect and these loss exposures act like slow poison to human health. So these incidents are not getting surfaced, not documented even if they are identified, many a time intentionally (Non–Ethical) not identified.
I strongly suggest “Government of India” to prepare sector specific Safety Regulations & most importantly under the guidance of experienced & intellectual safety personnel.
Subsequent Act by the states should be verified and changes to be incorporated. Also suggest to verify the existing related National rules and State rules.
For Safety there is no Tolerance / Allowances/ Importantly interpretations are to be allowed, it has to be accurate.
So far you have heard of Economists are intellectual Have you ever heard intellectual safety personnel?
In Our Factory Act- “General duties of the occupier. (1) Every occupier shall ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all workers while they are at work in the factory.”
This cannot be accepted, as it can be differently interpreted by the Occupier, by the monitoring authority & by the employees. By this we are diluting the Safety Norms.
For these Statements Cores of rupees are spent to understand these interpretations in the Law of Court. By the time the justice is declared, the Person filed the petition may be no more.
There is no point in making different opinion now but to set right the things – As Practical Possible- no it has to be implementable with simple interpretation.
The Words like “Such and Such” – Example-Extract from Factory Act- “such other particulars as may be prescribed”, Word like “Equivalent” - are to be taken out from Safety Act, Safety Rules, Safety Procedures and Safety instructions.
Learning good and best practices in Safety is essential, let us read The OSHA Act, Part of Labour Department in USA Has defined the duty of an Employer like below.
“SEC.5.Duties (a) Each employer --
I) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;
II) Shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.
Further Reference-(1)/29 USC 654.
That Means, Workplace Hazards are recognised and Control measures are defined. Duty of the employer/ Process owner of these activity is to comply with Regulation/ Standard - resulting in No Confusion/ No Interpretation, nothing but safety is warranted. (As Risk Cannot be eliminated).
Safety & Quality of Safety, both are addressed.
1b.) Bridge the gap- between Act & Rules.
Example: Work Place ventilation and Temperature:
Reference Factory Act: Ventilation and temperature. (1) Effective and suitable provision shall be made in every factory for securing and maintaining in every workroom-- (a) adequate ventilation by the circulation of fresh air, and (b) such a temperature as will secure to workers therein reasonable conditions of comfort and prevent injury to health;- and in particular,- (i) walls and roofs shall be of such material and so designed that such temperature shall not be exceeded but kept as low as practicable; (ii) where the nature of the work carried on in the factory involves, or is likely to involve, the production of excessively high temperatures, such adequate measures as are practicable shall be taken to protect the workers.
Now Let us verify Vis a Vis requirement mentioned in sample- Andhra Pradesh Factory Rules
Please Note: Extract is taken, for explaining purpose without any other intention. Explanations/ suggestions are personal opinion.
Andhra Pradesh Factory Rules
44/[17-B. Ventilation and Temperature (1)
In every factory the amount of ventilation openings in a work room below the Caves shall, except where mechanical means of ventilation as required by Clause I(ii) are provided, be of an aggregate area of not less than 15% of the floor area and so located as to afford a continued supply of fresh air. Provided that the Chief Inspector may relax the requirements regarding the amount of ventilating openings if he is satisfied that having regard to the location of the factory, orientation of the workroom, prevailing winds, roof height and the nature of -----------
In every room of the factory where machinery is installed, roof openings to provide for adequate natural ventilation shall be provided to the satisfaction of the Inspector.
Why it is required to satisfy the Inspector? Instead define the standard & comply with the standard.
Limits of temperature and air movement:
In any factory the maximum wet bulb temperature of air in a work room at a height of 1.45 metres (5 feet) above the floor level shall not exceed 308-C, (860-I) and adequate air movement of at least 30 metres per minute (100 feet per minute) shall be provided; and in relation to dry bulb temperature in the wet bulb, temperature in the workroom at the said height shall not exceed the temperature shown in the Schedule below or as regards a dry-bulb reading intermediate between the two dry-bulb readings that specified in relation to the higher of these two dry-bulb readings.
Provided that if the temperature measured with a thermometer to be inserted in a hollow globe of 15 cm. (6 in) dia-coated mat black outside and kept into the environment for not less that20 minutes exceeds the dry bulb temperature of air, the temperature so recorded by the globe thermometer shall be taken in place of the dry-bulb temperature;
------------------- continued for two pages.
These technical specifications comprising of two pages in my opinion is not necessary & not relevant to many factories.
It is suggested that Considering the hazards a simple Temperature mapping standard to be available / provided to the employer / process owner to simply measure monitor and comply. These records are to be verified by Government or Government Authorized Agencies to and be accepted with the respective parties being accountable in case of any deviations found.
Above Rules are not Simple, they are complicated unnecessarily. It has doubt of benefits, judgement of person – So need to be revised & updated.
1c.) Non Ethical Practices by the Owner/ Management/ Process Owner
Example: Boiler Act/ Rules in General
As a process Owner of Boiler operation, if he can manage to get the boiler licence without offering the boiler for periodical inspection then he is considered as an efficient Manager.
This is possible only when the Owner/ Management / Government authority or inspection or auditing agencies & the so called manger are exercising non ethical practices of not following regulations , corrupt and take the risk in case of negative consequences.
This is a great challenge to change the mind-set of these people.
Boiler Act is cited as an example, but No matter, whatever the safety regulation, honesty to be followed.
What steps are required to get the workers to accept and follow safety related norms?
Let me go to the Basics.
I have observed very closely the behaviour workers and supervisors in last 28 years of my industrial Career.
Below are my observations not a story to read & forget.
Worker aspiring a job along with many others wait at the Company gate under hot sun / winter or rainy morning for Contractor’s arrival. He got recruited at the mercy of the contractor (vary rarely due to his calibre). This results in “worker’s self-respect is at stake”.
Once his name is registered then, he is allowed inside & sit in for Safety induction by the responsible safety person. He (Worker) is confused, Safety thing was not briefed to him by the contractor except the work.
However during induction, of all safety points “DO NOT DO” is not understood by him. After reaching the Work place, wearing a used helmet, adjusted wearing an Old Safety Shoe, Putting nose Mask (may or may not be new), he feels very much uncomfortable to carry out his work. Now, his respect for the safe work is also at Stake.
After losing self-respect and respect for safe work, he (The Worker) does a silly mistake & accidents happen. We blame Indian Worker (Now very Popular – his Unsafe Act) is not following the safety norms of the company in spite of management has arranged all PPEs & imparting all safety instructions.
In Contrast, a candidate for manager post is interviewed in AC room with all comforts & the management is happy to recruit the right person. After selection, he is introduced to senior & senior most management. They also brief in short about safety culture of the company. Person joining as Manager is happy to note all good practices of the company briefed to him & he obliges.
Same obligation has to come from the Worker. Point here is that, the worker has lost his self-respect from day 1 of the work. Salary does not matter, how we can influence the workers and supervisors in India and made them to fallow safety norms that matters. We have to respect the work, not at which level he is doing the work.
Recruitment of workers (to maintain self-respect) method to be established and implemented & be it part of Safety management. The impact could be seen in lowering accident/ incident risks, without any investment.
After reading this article, I think a change should come in recruitment process of the Workers and supervisors.
This is first step; Respect the work of the Workers.
There are many innovative ways of making the workers to follow the Safety Norms.
How much support you get from your organization in enforcing safety at the workplace?
Being employed in Multinational Companies since last 15 Years I have the liberty of not enforcing safety at the work place but managing safety at Work places.
Prior to that, I was a manager with a track record of no serious accident at work place like ceramic, Ferro alloy and pesticide manufacturing industries.
The “Safety Management” is multidimensional but Focused, both dynamic & Sustainable and is like the GOD to me, Omnipotent & omnipresent.
? Please tell us about your views on OSH India expo and the role played by it in enhancing OSH awareness.
Any Occupational Health & Safety consultation, arranging program/ event on Health & Safety, by any organisation is tremendous, considering the human population engaged in various sectors in India. I admire “OSH India expo” doing fantastic job doing a business blended with “OHS Performance improvement” of their clients & improving “OSH awareness” amongst the public.
The effort of “OSH India expo” of involving diversified clients ranging from manufacturing sector, Power plants, construction, pharmaceutical to IT & biotechnology, also clients from service sectors is making these events fruitful in improving the culture. Knowledge sharing sessions with Participants and Speakers having rich experience in their field & Exposure of Participants to the innovative ideas helps them to implement monitor and maintain safety Standards.