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Implementing Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Policies Makes Good Business Sense: Dr Kavita Gupta, Principal Secretary – Labour, Government of Maharashtra
Apr 29, 2011

 Essar Oil Ltd, TCS, Ultratech Cement and Godrej and Boyce win

CII’s Prestigious 2010 - SHE Awards


Research indicates that SHE implementation improves profitability by a whopping 30%, making this a business imperative, rather than a CSR one



“Safety and health in an organization is not just about safety and health. Research has shown that good safety standards and focus on health improves productivity by 30%. Hence, if for nothing else then just for profits you should aim for good SHE practices,” said Dr Kavita Gupta, IAS, Principal Secretary – Labour, Government of Maharashtra.


Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) were issues not in the ambit of focus for organizations once. Today the realization that the three are directly linked to a company’s performance and thus to its profit is driving consciousness towards them. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organized the SHE Conclave 2011 to not only focus on the issues, but also reward those that have done exemplary SHE work in the Indian Industry.


Dr Kavita Gupta also highlighted the initiatives taken by the Government of Maharashtra to drive SHE in companies. “GoM have made the certification process transparent, allowed any number of certified surgeons do health inspections and surveys, empanelled first aid training institutions to train an organization and strengthened auditing by allowing spot auditing and monitoring hazardous conditions to encourage compliance rather than penalization,” she said. According to her merely having SHE policies is not enough. They have to be implemented and if they are not, the government needs to mandate them.


“Only 7% of the industry is in the organized sector and thus can be covered by policies and legislation. There is a need to facilitate safety and health thinking in the unorganized sector which comprises of the rest 93% and incorporate rules here, where we now have no way of getting reports on accidents or giving compensation. The organized sector should consider adopting companies in the unorganized sector industry-wise,” she said. 


Eight years back CII constituted the Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Awards to acknowledge the vision and exemplary commitment of CEOs and their teams towards environmental responsibility and concerns for occupational health and safety of employees and society as a whole. Mr. Satish Karnik, Chairman, CII WR SHE Award Committee, laid out the objectives of the award when he said,The objective is to reward leadership, vision and efforts made by organizations and individuals in enabling safety, health and environmental issues in their companies.” He laid out how the prize criteria have been fine-tuned over the years to include innovation, uniqueness, people involvement, motivation, replicability of success and sustainable development initiatives.


The awards are selected from hundreds of entries received from different industry sectors by a selected jury. The awards, in two categories – Manufacturing and Services – were handed out by Dr. Kavita Gupta. The first prize of the CII SHE Awards 2010 in the manufacturing sector went to Essar Oil Ltd., the second to Ultratech Cement Ltd and third to Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co. Ltd. In the services sector, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. won the award. 


Dr P C Sehgal, CEO & Managing Director, Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd. highlighted the SHE initiatives taken by railways in Mumbai. “Initially the railway was not driven towards SHE issues. However after a World Bank loan we were compelled and since the 90s we have taken SHE measures in railways in a big way. For an organization that carries 7.1 million people daily, have you heard of any big fatality? The safety record of railways is extremely good,” he said.  The driving force for the Railways, he added, was to make themselves socially, environmentally and financially sustainable, benefit customers and use technological upgrades to increase customer comfort and drive SHE measures.


Globally, the consciousness towards safety has come only after accidents have pushed a rethink. Bhopal in India, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents are some incidents that have compelled consciousness towards Safety, Health and Environment. The need however is not to wait for things to happen and react, but carry out proactive measures before anything happens. This is not only in the interest of the company, society, nation and the world, but is also a profitable motive.


 29th April, 2011, Mumbai

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