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“Indian safety policy makers unrepresentative of 80% of the workforce”

India has had legislation on occupational safety and health for 50 years. But regulatory authorities are limited to a number that is grossly inadequate even for the inspection of formal units that only employ about 10% of India’s total workforce (around  26 million), let alone the millions who work in the informal sector with absolutely no safeguards. The occupational safety and health (OSH) scenario in India is complex with challenges such as huge workforce in a largely unorganised sector, availability of cheap labour, meagre public spending on health, apathy of stakeholders and infrastructure problems.
“Legislation in occupational safety and health as it were, is drawn out by Policy makers who form a mere 20% of the value chain and do not represent the majority as a whole. Even in factories, mines, ports and construction, where there is an existing framework for OSH, the conditions are still not satisfactory,” said VB Sant, Director, National Safety Council while speaking at the first edition of OSH India 2012, exhibition and conference for the occupational safety and health industry, held in Mumbai.
Suresh Tanwar, Corporate Head, Safety, Health and Environment, TATA Motors, emphasised on how the company strives to ensure that every individual working within the plant premises is protected from any inherent risks related to workplace safety, while presenting a case study on ‘Building an Advanced OSH Culture through Training and Development’. Birendra Verma, Vice President Safety, Ultratech Cement emphasised on the need for proper legal framework that will aid the development of globally competent, safety-driven organisational cultures.

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