Safety In Indian Cement Industry
Safety In Indian Cement Industry

Safety In Indian Cement Industry

In the process of following the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) guidelines for safety reporting, members have increased their safety awareness, leading to reduction in the injury rates, says
Biprajit Chakravarty, EHS Consultant.

With nearly 390 million tonnes (MT) of cement production capacity, India is the second largest cement producer in the world accounting for 6.7 per cent of world´s cement output. India has a lot of potential for development in the infrastructure and construction sector and the cement sector is expected to grow with it. Expecting developments in the country and aided by suitable government foreign policies, several foreign players such as LafargeHolcim, Heidelberg Cement, CRH and Vicat have invested in the country in the recent past.

Domestic cement consumption has nearly doubled from FY11-15 to meet the growing demand, the FY11-17 CAGR is expected to be around 15.7 per cent. India´s per capita consumption is around 190 kg, which is lower than the world average of around 500 kg, thus providing further room for demand of cement. The cement production capacity is estimated to touch 550 MT by FY20.

The top 20 companies account for around 70 per cent of the total production. As of 2015, a total of 188 large cement plants together account for 97 per cent of the total installed capacity in the country, while 365 small plants make up the rest. Of the total capacity, 98 per cent lies with the private sector and the rest with the public sector. Cement is a vital part of India´s economy providing employment to more than a million people, directly or indirectly.

CSI, started by WBCSD became operational in India in 2009. Over a period of time the MNCs and some of the major Indian cement companies have become members of the CSI and got actively involved in its programs in India. In the process of following the CSI guidelines for safety reporting, these members have increased their safety awareness, leading to reduction in injury rates.

Safety Issues in Cement Manufacturing and Distribution
The Cement manufacturing process is illustrated in the Fig. 1.
The cement process vis-a-vis safety can be broadly divided into three components:
1.Quarrying and blending,
2.Cement manufacturing, and
3.Milling and distribution
There are lot of common types of hazards in the three phases. The distribution part has some of the common hazards of cement process, but as it involves movement within the general community, this multiplies the hazards associated with vehicle movement, railways and shipping.

The hazards associated with the tasks involved in the three components are:

Common Hazards

  • Fixed plant and machinery
  • Working at heights
  • Vehicle and mobile equipment
  • Electricity
  • Lifting and supporting loads
  • Pressurised systems
  • Confined space
  • Hot work (ignition sources)
  • Hazardous substances
  • Ergonomics and manual handling
  • Particulate solids (dust)
  • Noise

Specific Hazards

  • Explosives handling and use
  • Digging and excavation
  • Quarries and stockpiles
  • Hot material
  • Working near water
  • Working near rail operations

The injury potential of the above hazards is summarized in Table 1.
The above hazards may be present singly or in multiples for the different tasks carried out during operation and maintenance activities in cement manufacture. Due to the complexity of presence of multiple hazards, the cement manufacturing process is deemed hazardous and results in multiple serious injuries or fatalities every year

Safety Gaps at Sites
The type of gaps that exist between design and implementation, leading to safety incidents is illustrated below by an example of Fixed plant and machinery hazard. Refer Fig. 2

Safety Review
To assess the status of safety in Indian cement plants, the safety parameters for 2012, 2013 and 2014 of cement companies, who are members of CSI and publishing sustainability reports as per CSI guidelines for past three years, were studied and summarized in Table 2.

1.LTIFR - Lost time injury frequency rate Fat/10,000 - Fatality per ten thousand own employees. The definition and reporting standards have been defined by CSI.
2.The two Indian companies, reporting the safety indicators as per CSI requirements, due to their public disclosures and third party verifications are assumed to have better safety reporting culture than the Indian companies not following this process.

An analysis of the safety indicators bring out the following:

1.MNCs with low presence in India have LTIFR more than the Fat/10,000, which indicates a correlation to the ´Safety Pyramid´ indicating implementation of robust safety process.
2.MNCs with low presence in India also generally show a reduction in LTIFR and Fat/10,000, indicating embedding safety as a core value in the organisation.
3.Type 2 company 1 has a very large presence in India. The safety culture of low LTIFR and high fatality is indicative that safety culture is not stable and embedded. This is a MNC, but because of large presence in India, the safety indicators seem to be biased strongly by the safety culture of Indian cement industry.
4.Type 2 company 2 has a reasonable presence in India, but seem to have been able to carry their MNC safety culture and influence their operations in India. Same LTIFR and Fat/10,000 indicates room for improvement for safety in the company to become a core value.
5.For Indian company 1, values of zero for fatalities and LTIFR showed a very safe company at the first glance. However, digging deeper showed that for indirect employees the ratio of Fat/10,000 (indirect employees) and LTIFR (indirect employees) ranged from 10-20 times over different years. This indicates that hazards associated with cement manufacturing operations exist in the company and it is a matter of chance that indirect employees got hit and not the direct employees. It is very typical of the Indian cement sector, where the safety is also contracted out along with the operational aspects. Company has to control hazards and not allow the indirect employees to imple¡ment their poor safety culture.
6.In case of Indian company 2, the LTIFR and Fat/10,000 figures indicate low incidents, but, Fat/10,000 being more than the LTIFR indicates that the safety indicators of this company is not in conformity with the´Safety Pyramid´. This indicates requirement to work harder towards improving the safety culture of the organisation.

It can therefore, be inferred that the MNCs with low presence in India have robust safety, whereas MNCs with large Indian presence, get biased safety indicators due to the large presence in India. Indian companies generally need to improve a lot to count amongst the global safe cement manufacturing companies.

Studies conducted by independent agencies have shown that the level of safety in cement is generally not of the standard seen in other industries such as petrochemicals. This gap compounded with the low priority to safety leads to incidents with severe consequences in India. There are a number of MNCs, who bring in their inherent safety culture of our shores. However, the majority of Indian companies in cement manufacture do not have similar culture.

With a large number persons employed by the cement industry in India both direct and indirect, it is of utmost importance that the hazards in the operations and maintenance activities are controlled and the management take responsibility to provide safe workplace for all the employees.

Table 1: Potential Consequence of Hazards


Hazardous Energy Worst Credible Injury or Illness Potential
Fixed Plant & Machinery Mechanical Permanent Disability - Fatal
Working at Heights Gravity Permanent Disability - Fatal
Vehicle & Mobile Equipment Physical Permanent Disability - Fatal
Electricity Electrical Permanent Disability - Fatal
Lifting & Supporting Loads Gravity Permanent Disability - Fatal
Pressurized Systems Physical Permanent Disability - Fatal
Confined Space Atmospheric Permanent Disability - Fatal
Hazardous Substances Chemical Lost Time - Permanent Disability
Explosives handling & Use Chemical Lost Time - Fatality
Digging & Excavation Engulfment Lost Time - Fatality
Quarries & Stockpiles (Excavation) Engulfment Permanent Disability - Fatal
Particulate Solids (Dust) Physiological Lost Time - Permanent Disability
Ergonomics & Manual Handling Physiological Medical Treatment - Permanent Disability
Noise Physiological Medical Treatment - Permanent Disability
Explosives Thermal Permanent Disability - Fatal
Hot Work (ignition sources) Thermal Lost Time - Permanent Disability
Hot Material Thermal Lost Time - Fatal
Housekeeping Physical Lost Time - Permanent Disability
Working Near Water Engulfment Lost Time - Fatal
Working near Rail Operations Physical Lost Time - Fatal

Table 2

Company Safety Indicator 2012 2013 2014
Type 1 - MNC with Low presence in India
Company 1 LTIFR 2.6 2.5 2.1

Fat/10,000 0.35 1.05 0.23
Company 2 LTIFR 2.0 1.8 1.2

Fat/10,000 0.2 0.7 0.7
Company 3 LTIFR 6.2 4.1 3.7

Fat/10,000 1.1 0.5 0
Type 2 - MNC with Large presence in India
Company 1 LTIFR 1.3 1.3 1.6

Fatalities 27 30 25
Company 2 LTIFR 0.62 0.49 0.49

Fat/10,000 0.77 0.47 0.47
Type 3 - Indian Companies
Company 1 LTIFR 0 0 0.12

Fat/10,000 0 0 0
Company 2 LTIFR 0.95 0.69 0.68

Fat/10,000 1.26 0.99 1.01

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