Employee Health and Safety
Health and safety of the employees is an important aspect of a company’s smooth and successful functioning. It is a decisive factor in organizational effectiveness. It ensures an accident-free industrial environment. Companies must attach the same importance towards achieving high OH&S performance as they do to the other key objectives of their business activities. This is because, proper attention to the safety and welfare of the employees can yield valuable returns to a company by improving employee morale, reducing absenteeism and enhancing productivity, minimizing potential of work-related injuries and illnesses and increasing the quality of manufactured products and/ or rendered services.
The Constitution of India has also specified provisions for ensuring occupational health and safety for workers in the form of three Articles i.e. 24, 39(e and f) and 42. The regulation of labour and safety in mines and oil fields is under the Union list. While the welfare of labour including conditions of work, provident funds, employers’ invalidity and old age pension and maternity benefit are in the Concurrent list.
The Ministry of Labour, Government of India and Labour Departments of the States and Union Territories are responsible for safety and health of workers. Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) and Directorate General Factory Advice Services & Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) assist the Ministry in technical aspects of occupational safety and health in mines and factories & ports sectors, respectively.
DGMS exercises preventive as well as educational influence over the mining industry. Its mission is the reduction in risks of occupational diseases and casualty to persons employed in mines, by drafting appropriate legislation and setting standards and through a variety of promotional initiatives and awareness programmes. It undertakes inspection of mines, investigation of all fatal accidents, grant of statutory permission, exemptions and relaxations in respect of various mining operation, approval of mines safety equipment, appliances and material, conduct examinations for grant of statutory competency certificate, safety promotional incentives including organization of national awards and national safety conference, etc.
Welfare includes anything that is done for the comfort and improvement of employees and is provided over and above the wages. Welfare helps in keeping the morale and motivation of the employees high so as to retain the employees for longer duration. The welfare measures need not to be in monetary terms only but in any kind/forms. Employee welfare includes monitoring of working conditions, creation of industrial harmony through infrastructure for health, industrial relations and insurance against disease, accident and unemployment for the workers and their families.
Labor welfare entails all those activities of employer which are directed towards providing the employees with certain facilities and services in addition to wages or salaries.
Labor welfare has the following objectives
- To provide better life and health to the workers
- To make the workers happy and satisfied
- To relieve workers from industrial fatigue and to improve intellectual, cultural and material conditions of living of the workers.
The basic features of labor welfare measures are as follows
- Labor welfare includes various facilities, services and amenities provided to workers for improving their health, efficiency, economic betterment and social status.
- Welfare measures are in addition to regular wages and other economic benefits available to workers due to legal provisions and collective bargaining
- Labor welfare schemes are flexible and ever-changing. New welfare measures are added to the existing ones from time to time.
- Welfare measures may be introduced by the employers, government, employees or by any social or charitable agency.
- The purpose of labor welfare is to bring about the development of the whole personality of the workers to make a better workforce.
Social security is a dynamic concept which is considered in all advanced countries of the world as an indispensable chapter of the national programme. With the development of the idea of the welfare state, it has been considered to be most essential for the industrial workers, though it includes all sections of the society.
Social security is that security which the society furnishes through appropriate organization against certain risks or contingencies to which its members are exposed. These risks are essentially contingencies against which the individual cannot afford by his small means and by his ability or foresight alone.
As the name stands for the general well-being of the people it is the duty of the state to promote social security which may provide the citizens with benefits designed to prevent or cure disease, to support him when he is not able to earn and to restore him to gainful activity. To enjoy security one must be confident that benefits will be available as and when required.