Millions of businesses across India ran activities encouraging workers to act in a safe and healthy fashion as part of the annual National Safety Week that ran from 4-10 March.
Now in its 51st year, the week saw employers across the government and private sectors running activities, training sessions and publicity campaigns to encourage workers to play their part in preventing workplace accidents and cases of ill health. The theme for 2022 was ‘Nuture young minds – develop safety culture’, and the week is also designed to remind employers about their legal duty to protect the health and safety of their workers and encourage them to improve their management of health and safety risks.
First run in 1972, the week is spearheaded by the National Safety Council (NSC), a not-for-profit body established by the Indian government with the aim of leading a national movement to improve the management of safety, health and environmental risks in workplaces. Since its launch more than half a century ago, the initiative has expanded from a single National Safety Day to a full week of events and activities involving millions of businesses and government agencies.
Commenting on the importance of the week, Suresh Tanwar, head of audit and consultancy at the British Safety Council in India, said: “With planned reforms to labour laws set to place new health and safety duties on many Indian businesses, it is more important than ever for organisations to focus on protecting and enhancing the health, safety and wellbeing of their workers.
“There are many hazards that can pose a risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of workers if they are not properly managed. These include the recent huge expansion in the use of hazardous machinery in India and the trend in employing younger, less experienced workers who often lack the knowledge to protect themselves and others from being injured or made ill at work. The pandemic has also led to a huge increase in the number of people reporting work-related stress and mental health problems, due to factors such as longer working hours caused by reductions in the workforce and isolation from colleagues caused by the sudden and unexpected move to homeworking.
“However, the good news is that the risk of workers being injured or made ill can be eliminated or reduced – for example, by training staff on the hazards they face and how to avoid them. Good health and safety also brings business benefits – such as lower absence rates and improved productivity because employees are more motivated and engaged because they feel their employer genuinely cares about their safety and wellbeing.
“National Safety Week is a great opportunity to launch new activities and campaigns to improve the way your organisation manages risks to workers’ health, safety and wellbeing.”
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