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Safety – for the sake of doing it!

Piyush 2015-03-28

Been brought up in an industrial town of Rourkela where Steel products are manufactured, I could see the city observing a culture of safety. Industries keep operations safe through HIRA, FMEA, Alarms, OHSAS, Fire etc. Safety and the appeal for it is a capitalist response to the communist remarks.

National Safety Council was founded on 4th March, 1966 with the objective to reduce the rate of accidents and to create an extensive Safety awareness in all sectors of the industry. The National Safety Week is celebrated from 4th to 10th of March every year, we see it happening in every industrial zone. Going in to its 50th year, the council organises campaigns on Safety, Health and Environment across our country.

Personal Safety

As a kid, safety to me meant coming back home before it gets dark. Most parent get anxious once it gets later than 7 PM; one shouldn’t even stray near the gas stove or play with matchboxes, knives and so on. As I grew up, my viewpoint changed and safety meant wearing helmets on bike only.

Now it does not even matter if I light a matchstick to light an incence stick or a Diwali cracker. It may be partially because I know the limitations of a cracker and also with experience I know how should I light match sticks.

Safety must be a habit that we dare not ignore.

Industrial Safety

Recently, I had a chance to visit a client who manufacture forged products. At the entry gate of the factory I was given a helmet and a pair of safety glasses. I could hear the thumping of Forging Machines even at the gate.

As soon as I entered the shopfloor, hot air hit my face and I could see flares coming out from the process. Suddenly I saw a forklift coming. It came near me and dumped the products on the ground near another stack of material. I could feel the high temperature of the product through my pants.

Not all workers were wearing helmets. Only the white collar / staff were concerned about the helmets. How can this be true! The rate of accidents in a forging industry are likely to be high.

The workers on forging machines were wearing safety glasses but broken ones. Making them wear a helmet was a challenge.

Most organisations conduct Safety programs like celebrating a festival. It’s like celebrating Holi! You prepare for it – buy barrels, colours and the second day, you forget about it. You can sense the temporary nature of it. A factory is not a kid’s playground. Every day Safety Walks must be conducted to identify and communicate the hazards. Every day should be a Holi and the nights Diwali.

Sometimes, organisations get OHSAS certified for the sake of getting a certification and as an industry standard. However, after the auditors have left, everybody gets into flouting the rules.

Let’s take a pledge for improving the Safety Standards:

The weekly Safety and coordination meeting for preparedness.
The Safety meetings and safety walks by Senior Management.
The daily Pre-Task Safety Planning meetings (PTSP)
The twice-a-day safety walks must identify and communicate the hazards that the people on site (workers, management or visitors) are exposed to
Identifying and Communicating the Hazards IS NOT ENOUGH
When a hazard is identified, the Foreman and the crew need to determine what is the safest way to perform the tasks so that the identified hazards are eliminated or controlled for example Hazard Identification Risk Assessment or HIRA
For example, if tripping hazards are identified, the work should be planned in such a way that workers avoid actions that reduce their visibility such as walking backwards, or carrying bulky objects

Provide all resources for Safe Work

  • The Resources needed for Safe Work include:
  • 1) Appropriate Tools, 2) Equipment, 3) Material, and 4) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),
  • Qualified Personnel, trained in doing the work, must always be available.
  • Adequate manpower for the task (especially when the task involves ergonomic hazards),
  • Adequate Work Time to follow the safe procedure (so that the workers do not by-pass safety due to production pressures), and
  • Appropriate conditions (such as lights, ventilation etc.)

The only requirement is that the workers perform the work in a safe manner, don’t ever do the following: Unsafe behaviors may include improper use of tools or equipment, use of improper tools, improper PPE, by-passing safety procedures, etc.

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