- Mention about OSH code in India.
- Mention what needs to be done.
- Mention few state governments’ OSH interventions.
- Conclusion & way forward.
Safety and health have become critical to every local, national and international industries, as accidents, injuries and diseases are prevalent in many industries. Globally, 2.9 million deaths and 402 million non-fatal injuries are attributed to occupational accidents & diseases. They have costed 5.4% of the global GDP annually. Since 2003, the ILO has commemorated April 28 as World Day for Safety and Health at Work to stress the prevention of accidents & diseases.
The role of social dialogue in creating a positive safety & health culture at workplaces is immense through employers-workers cooperation.
OSH code in India : workplace hazards results in presenteeism (working with less effectiveness), productivity losses due to permanent impairment and loss of skilled staffs. Viewing this, the GOI declared the National Policy on Safety, Health and Environment at Workplace in 2009 and complied the available Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) mechanism information as National OSH Profile 2018.
What more needs to be done ? : The next effective step is launching a National OSH Programme for effective implementation of the code of OSH by extending OSH protection to more sectors, especially informal workers constituting nearly 90% of India’s workforce. Fair & transparent labour inspections are needed since, labour inspections have dropped from 1, 21, 757 (2011) to 93, 846 (2016). Active workplace OSH committees should also be promoted. At the national level, all relevant ministries should ensure that workers’ safety & health are prioritised in the national agenda; allocate adequate resources to create awareness on OSH. At the State level, workers’ and employers’ organisations, through bilateral discussions, must incorporate safety & health training at every level of supply chain to ensure protection from workplace hazards. Social dialogue is essential for improving compliance and in building ownership and instilling commitment.
Steps by few State governments : the government of UP carried out participatory OSH training workshops for metal & garment home-based workers. Government of Kerala applied the ILO’s participatory OSH training and reached out to small construction sites for OSH improvements. The Rajasthan government generated OSH awareness in stone processing units for preventing occupational lung diseases.
A reliable occupational accident & disease reporting system is vital for remedying victims & making effective prevention policies. India’s mechanism is underutilised with many injuries, accidents and diseases going unregistered. The lack of awareness leads to misdiagnosis by doctors, who need training on various occupational diseases & risks. Occupational hazards cause immeasurable suffering & loss to victims and their families and also, economic losses for enterprises. So strong social dialogue is imperative in creating a safe & healthy workplace, which is the bedrock of a sustainable economy