World Day for Safety and Health at Work is observed by initiative of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on April 28th since 2003. It is believed that adequate information and training would, along with availability of protective materials, ensure prevention of occupational diseases and accidents. As highlighted on the web site of the United Nations, technical innovation and organizational changes can be linked to the potential existence of new occupational hazards. Balasore Alloys Ltd.’s Medical and HR specialists explain why prevention is of utmost importance and which measures are undertaken by one of the large Ferro chrome producers in Orissa state, India.
What should everyone know about occupational diseases: what is BAL doing to prevent them?
Dr. Geeta Giri: As per the Indian Factory Act, 1948 there are 29 notified Occupational diseases.
As far as our factory is concerned in particular, out of those 29 diseases, 4 are potentially possible to emerge including Chrome ulceration or its sequelae, silicosis, occupational or contact dermatitis and noise induced hearing loss.
Having this into consideration, we make sure generic care is applied to eliminate hazards. Health and safety training like "Safety and law”, “Induced noise level and hearing loss”, “Use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs)” are conducted for all workers especially those at occupational diseases prone areas in regular interval. Awareness programs are organized at the company to keep staff aware regarding the Occupational diseases.
As per recent estimates quoted by ILO, 2,78 mln workers are losing their lives every year over occupational accidents whereas 86,3% is due to occupational diseases and 13.7% due to accidents at work. How is prevention of hazards organized at BAL's plant and mines areas?
Dr. Giri: We value the proactive role of prevention as an individual habit and collective culture. An adequate number of PPEs such as ear plug/ear muffs are provided in noises prone areas. Dust masks are made available in dust prone areas. Gloves are in place to facilitate work with chromium metals.
Examinations of every single regular or contractual worker are done every year by certified medical team. We organize these examinations to check the health condition of the employees and to be prepared to keep occupational diseases detected on time, if any. We are proud to acknowledge that this preventive approach really works.
Environmental monitoring like ambient air quality, work zone monitoring, water quality and noise level monitoring are conducted every month.
As ILO informed, the 2018 Day should have been observed to mark the World Day against Child Labour (WDACL). Which measures are undertaken by BAL to ensure child labour is not encouraged?
Mr. Vikas Sahu (HR): Balasore Alloys Ltd. abides by strict intolerance against child labour by never supporting such unethical and improper practices in its own recruitment policy. No fake or forged identification documents are accepted during the recruitment process. We ensure verifiable proof of age documentation is maintained for every single employee. ID proof of contractor labours is carried upon new joining. Checking of ID proof at gate entry is strictly applied.
How important is the personal contribution to maintaining and securing high standards industrial hygiene?
Mr. Vikas Sahu: Test methods are there to measures relevance in recognizing, assessing and controlling the physical, chemical, and environmental hazards on the workplace to ensure every worker's health and well-being are not disrupted. These standards include guides for the proper handling, transportation and storage of specified substances and equipment.
Licenses, permits and certificates are maintained as required by law. They are renewed in order to retain their validity. These documents are issued by a valid and recognized legal entity to the organization possessing them, with the appropriate location, scope and validity date. These documents include business and operating permits, fire safety and electrical certificates, permits for equipment such as boilers, generators, elevators, fuel and chemical storage tanks; and building, emissions and waste-disposal permits.