World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Good workplace practices improve safety and health

India, a fast-growing economy, has a large chunk of working population. Increased manufacturing activities, technological advancements and change in work practices is on the rise. ILO experts write as to why fostering robust OSH practices at workplaces is the need of the hour.

Comment | 27 April 2017
A rest corner at ESCORTS. Workers can rest easily in between shifts and quickly recover from their fatigue. This step goes a long way in preventing accidents
Securing safety and health at work is key for both workers and employers to increase productivity and prevent accidents. Good practice approaches plays a critical role in improving occupational safety and health (OSH) at workplaces.  Employers and workers in India – together- can do a great deal when it comes to coping with OSH issues at workplaces. Companies can start with simple, low-cost improvements, as a first step. There are five important technical areas where practical improvements can be implemented. These are —
  1. ensuring easy and safe materials handling,
  2. ergonomic and productive workstation designs,
  3. safe use of machinery and electricity,
  4. control of hazardous substances and working environments, and
  5. Work-related welfare facilities.
These easy-to-do activities not only boost productivity and efficencies at workplaces, they also contribute towards a safe and healthy environment. It is often noticed that workers are the first to bear the brunt of health and safety risks at their jobs. Successful and intuitive employers are able to anticipate the OSH risks, swiftly address the workers’ needs and encourage a participatory method to implement effective OSH good practices. They also give importance to providing training to workers on OSH practices.

There are two essential tools to promote active participation of both workers and employers in OSH activities at workplaces. The first method is the application of the action-checklist. This checklist assists both employers and workers in identifying good practices and practical solutions. ILO’s action checklist ‘Higher productivity and a better place to work’ provides few integral points. Group discussions too among workers and employers result in successful mitigation of OSH risks. It is found that conventional class-room training isn’t as effective as knowledge-sharing sessions. Workers tend to feel hesitant and are often reluctant to speak out in a typical classroom setting.
Wheeled rack for easy carrying heavy materials in CEAT Tyre Company in Mumbai. Both employers and workers together designed this wheeled device. CEAT employers regularly train workers in OSH good practices.

The Constitution of India has provisions for ensuring OSH for workers in the form of three Articles — Article 24, 39 (e and f) and 42. India has also been upgrading its national OSH systems.

In 2009, a national OSH policy was declared. Currently, a code on OSH is being developed. ILO’s key OSH instruments, Occupational Safety and Health Convention (No 155, 1981), Promotional Framework for OSH Convention (No 187, 2006) and Guidelines on OSH Management Systems provide sound guidance towards framing both national policy and workplace level actions.

ILO continues to support government, employers and workers in India to implement OSH at workplaces so as to achieve Decent Work for All.