a) The symposium was inaugurated by Janab Javed Ahmed Khan, Hon’ble Minister of Fire & Emergency Services, Disaster Management and Civil Defense, Government of West Bengal today in Kolkata. The symposium is having deliberations on critical topics like Behavioral Safety: Psychology & Key Components; Fire Safety: Creating a Safe Accident-Free Environment; Workplace Stress Management: Causes and Prevention; Mining Safety: Learning from Industries; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Innovative Technologies towards optimising Safety.
Addressing the gathering Janab Javed Ahmed Khan, Hon’ble Minister of Fire & Emergency Services, Disaster Management and Civil Defense, Government of West Bengal stated that the Government of West Bengal is laying special emphasis on ensuring industrial safety in the state. The state government has unified the three departments of fire, disaster and civil defence under one department for better service delivery. He also stated that the Government of West Bengal will set up unified disaster management centre in all the districts of the state. He invited suggestions from the industry for the betterment of the industrial safety scenario in the state of West Bengal.
b) H. E. C Rajasekhar, Ambassador of India to Cuba, Haiti and Dominican Republic stated that there is a need for engineering and technological interventions in ensuring industrial safety. All the stakeholders need to come together to ensure a better scenario in the areas of industrial safety. He said that ensuring safety will go a long way in increasing productivity and enhancing greater efficiency.
c) Prof Ajoy Kumar Ray, Vice Chancellor, Bengal Engineering & Science University congratulated CII for organizing the symposium on safety which is of immense importance in the day to day life. Industry and Academia need to collaborate in the areas of technological improvement in safety. He stressed on enhancing the redundancy and developing a correct mathematical model.
d) Mr R K Agrawal, Chairman, CII Eastern Region; Mr O B Krishna, Chairman, Safety Task Force, CII Eastern Region; Mr Lokesh K Ray, Co-Chairman, Safety Task Force, CII Eastern Region also addressed the gathering.
e) A CII – Ernst & Young Report on Workplace Safety – The Way Forward was unveiled at the forum. CII and BESU signed a MoU on Research Project on Reducing Safety & Health Hazards in Underground Mines.
CII organized the Safety Symposium and Exposition on Towards Optimising Safety for CSR & Sustainability on 4-5 October, 2012 at Kolkata.
Indian industry has grown over the years in terms of diversity, product quality and production capacity.
This is corroborated by the fact that the country is poised to assume the status of a strong economy in another ten to fifteen years. The spectacular growth in industrial production seen over the last two decades in particular could, by no way, have been achieved had the management of the production units not been adequately knowledgeable of various facets of good management practice.
However, achieving growth and sustaining it are quite different propositions. In the drive to achieve higher production and better quality of variety of products, safety of the personnel associated with production and distribution process and the environment with its eco-system have been the two distinct casualties. It is time for the production units in India to start thinking in terms of sustainable growth which ensures safety of workmen, safety of the neighbouring populace and the environment. The industry needs a set of clearlydefined principles which will result in improved safety performance as well as better business results.
The leaders of industry in India are not oblivious of this requirement. Those in touch with various industries in India will vouch for the initiatives taken by most large production units to instill systematic safety management systems in the respective organisations. The implemented management systems often meet the requirements of international standards incorporating elements like Risk Identification and Assessment, planning and implementation of mitigation measures including use of Personnel Protective Equipments, training of employees and hand holding till satisfactory results are seen through a proper process of monitoring and Emergency Preparedness Plan. Similar initiatives have been taken by many large scale construction companies and medium scale production units as well.
But the scenario is quite different for small scale production units and medium and small scale construction companies. In all probability, due to intense pressure of maintaining ever increasing targets of production, safety of employees and protection of environment appears to be the last priority for these sectors although the number of casualties is significantly high.
For organisations having a safety management system in place with proper use and upkeep of adequate safety devices and PPEs, statistics indicate that the accident rates show a decline for the initial three or four years of implementation and thereafter it starts rising and tends to go back to square one, indicating, typically, the absence of sustainability of the safety management system. This has opened a new window ushering in the concept of - Organizational Safety Culture.
It is important to understand that while a safety management system with all the elemental requirements of an international safety standard is the basic requirement for the industry, it is equally important to see that the system is sustained by full participation of all employees at all levels of the organization including the contract workmen working for and on behalf of it.
The requirement of safety & health at work place and protection of environment goes far beyond qualifying for a certificate to an international standard. Effectiveness of the system is assessed through second and third party audit by most overseas clients from the developed countries.
Absence or lack of safety in work place and any damage done to the environment and eco-system, therefore, hits at the very root of sustainable business for any export oriented production unit.
Safety of Contract Workmen is another area that needs to be highlighted. An analysis of the accident statistics of large production units and mines indicate relatively higher casualty figures for contract workmen under their control.
Obviously, these managements have initiated some mechanism for safeguarding their employees but have failed to do so for the contract employees for whom they are equally responsible as per the law of the land.
The issue has its significance for the reason that, today, most organisations tend to concentrate and manage only the core processes involved in their business. Products, services, facilities and manpower required for the enabling and fringe activities are routinely outsourced. Going by the trend and the practice in the developed countries, outsourcing of products, services and manpower is likely to increase in the coming days. This requires proper mechanisms to be incorporated for vendor selection and development and considerable efforts to strengthen the safety and environment performance of the vendors. Unfortunately, not many organisations take such initiatives despite the fact that as principal employers, they remain responsible for the performance of their vendors.
To sum it up, various sectors of industry have made initiatives for implementing safety management systems, provided funds for procurement of safety gadgets and PPEs, trained their employees, taken stock of situation at regular intervals of time but have not been able to sustain the improved safety performance due to absence of a holistic management approach.
During the current Safety Symposium and Exposition was held on 4 – 5 October 2012 at ITC Sonar, Kolkata, we deliberated upon the following:
Behavioral Safety: Psychology & Key Components
Fire Safety: Creating a Safe Accident- Free Environment
Workplace Stress Management: Causes and Preventions
Mining Safety: Learning from Industries
Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs): Innovative Technologies towards Optimising Safety
The central theme of this year’s conference is ‘Towards Optimizing Safety for CSR & Sustainability’.
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Library of this event.