A LARGE number of accidents at industrial units in the last few years has prompted the state government to draft a policy on labourers’ “safety, health and environment” at all workplaces.
Officials from the labour department said the policy will be drafted on the lines of the central government’s policy on safety, health and environment at workplaces that was declared in 2009.
They added that it was an attempt to make the state renowned for best practices at the workplace and will cover all economic activities.
“As of now, there are provisions for labourers’ safety in various laws. Now, we want to have a separate and broader policy on health and safety at all workplaces,” said a senior official.
The official added that the policy will focus on providing a statutory framework for occupational safety and health in all sectors, focusing on strategies for preventing accidents and occupational health hazards and establishing effective control systems. “Several departments are involved in this and tasks will be assigned to each department for effective implementation of the policy. We will develop a manual that will be consistent with international standards,” further said the official.
For preventing accidents at the workplace, the policy will heavily depend on data related to work-related accidents and diseases. While employers will be encouraged to share data, the labour department will also conduct studies and surveys through government agencies and NGOs for compiling information. This, in turn, will help in analysis and taking corrective action.
Another official said employers will be advised to install infrastructure that will make workplaces safer for employees. The use of CCTV cameras and sensor-based systems, among others, will be included in the policy. “Besides, challenges such as greater sub-contracting, outsourcing and changing job patterns, already exist. We are working out a way to address them and help in smoother implementation of this policy,” added the official.
Minister for Labour Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar recently held a meeting with officials from Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), Maharashtra Fire Services Department, Directorate of Industrial Health and Safety, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and IT department, among others. “The policy is under consideration and will soon be finalised. It will cover all workplaces and Maharashtra will become the first state to have such a policy for labourers,” said Patil-Nilangekar.