‘Workplace safety is of paramount importance’

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) Ensuring good understanding of safety at senior management level, promoting a culture of safety, deploying technology and training people are the some of the most important initiatives of the day for workplace health and safety, said an official of global independent safety science company UL on Thursday.

“Anybody who is involved in an economic activity, be it in a factory, office, or someone who is an Ola or Uber driver should get a safe environment to work in,” said UL’s vice president, public safety mission, R. A. Venkitachalam.

Aimed at promoting safety at Indian workplaces, UL invited 15 experts ranging from petroleum, engineering, pharmaceutical, construction and IT industries among others to deliberate and prepare an India specific action plan in a consultative meeting.

Representatives from IBM, L&T, Sun Pharma, ONGC and National Institute of Occupational Health among others deliberated at the meeting.

“We got some priorities outlined. They are being collated and we will come out with an action plan in 90 days,” said Venkatichalam.

Quoting International Labour Organisation (ILO) statistics, he said India suffers more than 50,000 workplace deaths in a year and many more injuries due to occupational hazards.

India’s ambitious programme and goals of Make in India coupled by a burgeoning economy cannot happen without skilling the manpower in the right way and the safe way, he said.

According to Venkatichalam, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which contribute to almost 40 percent of India’s manufacturing output are more prone to hazards on account of overlooking safety.

“For example, bangle making industry, a cottage industry, uses furnaces in a very crude and dangerous way,” he said.

Committed to public safety, UL has already been working in India on fire, road and electrical safety. The 120-year-old company worked with more than 2,000 organisations in 20 major industries to promote the safety and well being of the workers.

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