One marked improvement that has happened, is the reporting format on safety that has become common for all member companies of CSI.
As we all know, typically cement manufacturing activity starts from mining then moves on to size reduction, pyro processing, grinding, packing and dispatch. This is one of the industries apart from metals where we have such wide spread operations starting from mining. The diversity of operations is very large, wide spread and therefore demand very exhaustive standards of safety. The typical number of employees working in a million tonne plant is not less than 400 direct and 200 indirect. It is therefore necessary that all the safety practices are people centric. The most important aspect of any safety implementation has been human aspect.
It is a fact that to get any numerical data from the industry is extremely difficult more particularly in our country. However in cement sector, as brought out by Biprajit Chakravarty due to Cement Sustainability Initiative(CSI) started by World Business Council of Sustainable Development(WBCSD) getting numbers is some what possible. He states that there has been a marked improvement among the member companies and others on safe practices. One marked improvement that has happened, is the reporting format on safety that has become common for all member companies.You will read else where in this issue more on CSI and WBSCD activities.
Biprajit further highlights that there are lot of common types of hazards in all the phases of manufacturing. The distribution part of the product has some of the common hazards but as it involves movement within the general community, this multiplies the hazards associated with vehicle movement, railways and shipping etc. It is important to look at some of the conclusions drawn by Biprajit. He observes that the exposure of indirect (contract) employees who are more affected need better attention with respect to safety than the direct employees. For more details please refer to his article ahead.
Another eye opening observation he has reported is that there can be exception to safety pyramid, we can see less of small time incidents but still be high on fatalities and that is based on factual numbers what Biprajit relies.
It is our observation that safety audits need more attention. Generally it is observed that any where safety audits are taken as a ritual and the observations are also not brought out correctly or not reported. Involving either third parties or cross departmental personnel can improve the quality of audit.
Housekeeping is closely related with safety. Many times the it is compromised in order to save cost but cement being an industry where emission of dust can not be avoided, the house keeping should be a priority not just for the upkeep but for safety. The safety of the indirect employees or contract employees need much more attention. The CSI guidelines on that are prepared with minute details. Since price of human life in our country is very low generally the fatalities happening to contract employees hardly get reported in the industry.
We also have included an article of Uday Deshpande from UltraTech Cement. He draws a detailed picture of how UltraTech, a member company of CSI initiative of WBCSD is actually executing the safety practices. The important aspect he says has been the involvement of top management in whole process. The industry can see marked improvements if the top management is committed to safety. The actions of the top management can been generally seen from the behaviour of the line managers and they behave exactly what is expected from them by the top management. To that extent line managers play a crucial role in executing the process. The reporting pattern is more open and not to hide any incident, Uday says. The other highlighting feature has been training and propagation of information down to shop floor. UltraTech is attempting the tools like skit or street plays to make it interesting. They are also putting in efforts to improve the safety of the contractors working with them which is remarkable.
We have also included an article by Vinod Sant, Director General of National Safety Council. He has pointed out during conversation that today large size of industries like that of cement, fertilizer, steel, pharma etc. are better equipped on safety and showing overall improvement year after year. The real problem lies with small scale and medium scale industry from where the large industry is sourcing it´s material or semi finished goods. He further says that through large industries they are connecting with their vendors for safety improvement program which will bring in a change.
Key legislations in Occupation, Health and Safety
Notice at the pyramid´s base we find a foundation of safety violations and unsafe behaviors. As we move up the pyramid, the severity of the outcome of these behaviors increases.
The next level is the near miss incidents. Unsafe conditions and behaviors have now become the foundation for an incident, but no one was inured. Once the near miss level has been introduced, the next level is when people get hurt.
Here we only provide first aid and record injuries. Once this level is reached, the recordable injuries begin. People get hurt, need a prescription or have to modify their normal work duties. Once the trend continues, it leads to lost time injuries. Workers are getting hurt and missing work. At the end, if the trend continues and we build up enough lost time injuries, the odds are that there will be a fatality.
The key to success is to identify the trends before someone gets hurt. Correct our unsafe behavior, even when no one is watching. If a portion of the base is removed, the pyramid never has a chance to reach the upper level.