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Occupational Health and Safety challenges in India


India is a multi-diversity country with many races, religions and languages with unbending integrity. It is growing rapidly in economy with its enormous massive workforce in various sectors such as IT, manufacturing, construction and etc. In our country, 90 % of the workers and 50% of the national products come from informal workforce who works for unorganized industries. In fact, World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only 10–15% of workers are accessing the basic occupational health services across the world that applies to our country too.

female-ratio-with-year-graph

State of informal Workers

Recently, two labors were affected by the exposure of toxic substances such as toluene and silicone due to the negligence in the safety measures while cleaning the tanks in Chennai. If the safety officers with expertise in confined space were there, this incident could have been avoided. The workers in the unorganized companies encounter severe health issues due to insufficient fund allocation for safety precautions, slackness in the implementation of Law & regulation, shortage of OSH professionals for health and safety and many more. This results in risks of accidents, diseases like pneumoconiosis, asbestosis, musculoskeletal injuries, chronic lung diseases and also leads to hearing losses.

As per economical statistics, poor occupational health reduces working capacity of the workers and causes an economic loss of up to 10–20% of GNP (Gross National Product).As a result, it affects the national productivity in a large scale. Presently, there are only about 1,000 qualified occupational health professionals and around 100 qualified hygienists in India. As far as our population is concerned, the availability of health professionals is in the poor state.

Challenges for Women

Now a days, the number of women employees in various sectors in our country is increasing over the years. The extended work hours put them in mental-stress as they have other responsibilities like child care and etc. that causes health problems to the women. Especially for pregnant women, the exposed toxic chemicals affect the foetuses and as a result, new-born baby could have chronic diseases due to exposure.

Solutions

The analysis and implementation of Health and Safety measures must be the prime concern for our country today. The first step is to provide safety consciousness to the workers and then by providing effective practical training and arranging safety awareness programmes.Practical training is the best solution as the informal workers do not have proper education and experience. Government has to devise the suitable legislation structures to extend OSH coverage to the unorganized sectors and spreading the awareness about OSH among employers and appointing required OSH professionals. The employer has to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees, through provision of safe plant and systems of work, and providing correct information, instruction, training and supervision.

Need of Safety Providers

The effective training to the employees and periodical auditing in the organized industries reduced the risk of accidents in a remarkable scale. Employers could utilize the tailor-made practical training provided by the safety institutes in appropriate with industry’s manufacturing for the growth of the industry.

NIST is the leading safety training institute in India, offering safety courses including practical training such as confined space attendant and fire watcher. These courses are very essential to protect the workers from the potential risks.

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