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Improving workplace safety in developing countries

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Improving workplace safety in developing countries

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Improving workplace safety in developing countries

  1. 1. Round Table 251: Work Place Issues In India: American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, Orlando, May 25, 2000 email:Maharshi.Mehta@Pfizer.com IMPROVING WORK PLACE SAFETY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
  2. 2. Agenda • Workplace demographics • Issues: Working conditions • Current occupational health and safety status • Approaches adopted • Suggested approaches
  3. 3. Workplace Demographics • Labor Force: About 400M (44M to 90M Child Labor) • Unemployment Rate: 22% • Industrial Growth 8%, Inflation Rate: 9% • Unions represents: 25 % of industrial and service workers in the organized sector • 1977 law prohibits Bonded Labor Factories Act. A 1986 law bans employment of children under age 14
  4. 4. Issues-The Need • One of world’s largest manufacturing base manufacturing/processing highly toxic chemicals. • Exposure to serious health and safety hazards • Conditions exacerbated by export of hazards from developed countries • Hazardous conditions + scarcity of trained EHS professionals and infrastructure = serious threat of occupational illnesses and injuries. Hence, greater role of health and Safety Professionals
  5. 5. Issues-The Need • Occupational diseases occurred in early 1900 in USA and Europe are still occurring • Large affected population-industries, hospitals, farms, offices • Pro-active companies not able to practice IH due to lack of trained professionals and infrastructure • Quality Assurance is a concern in IH being practiced • 7000 Industrial Hygienists Needed - 2000 CIHs for 260M people and 1 for 1B people • Occupational Safety-Fairly good, Environment and Ecology-Improving, Industrial Hygiene-Long way to go.
  6. 6. Total Injury Rate/1000 worker 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 1971 1981 1991
  7. 7. Addressing the Issues • Media Coverage • State and Supreme Courts Ruling – Closed down an operation or plant – Suspended forest based activities including about 900 saw mills, veneer and plywood mills – Relocation of thousands of hazardous industries- Under court order, electrical supply discontinued for companies not acting.
  8. 8. Addressing the Issues • Amendment in legislation and increase in awareness since Bhopal tragedy • Multinational corporations bringing corporate OHS culture. • Proactive public Sector companies and large corporations conscious about environment and safety. • EHS associations’ role in education and awareness • Institutions offering postgraduate safety and environmental management program since 1979
  9. 9. Addressing the Issues-India’s first Master in Industrial Hygiene Program • Offered at BVM Engineering College, Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidya Nagar, Gujarat, 300 miles north of Bombay with University of Cincinnati. • First 19 Industrial Hygienists trained • All from the first and second class working • Presented Technical Papers last year and this year at AIHCs, Toronto and Orlando.
  10. 10. A student with donated books
  11. 11. Proposed Approaches • Establish Industrial Hygiene Institute-Non-profit Non-Governmental organization providing cost effective consulting. • Strengthen MIH program. • Government on amending existing legislation: COSHH, UK/EC Directives • Employee State Insurance Corporation, to provide medical AND IH Services following EC model • Country specific certification • Adopt a small scale industry program
  12. 12. What can we do? • Understand the economics and culture before intervention. • Participate in developing local expertise. • Exchange of hazard control technology. • AIHA/ACGIH/NIOSH: Assist professionals already working in emerging countries. • DO, not talk. Facilitate, not complain • Small step at a time is better than not walking at all, especially on rough roads!

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