Effective safety management, & Legal provisions
A safety management system (SMS) is designed to manage safety risk in the workplace, occupational safety being defined as the reduction of risk to a level that is as low as is reasonably practicable to prevent people getting hurt.
To address these three important elements, an effective SMS should:
- Define how the organisation is set up to manage risk.
- Identify workplace risk and implement suitable controls.
- Implement effective communications across all levels of the organisation.
- Implement a process to identify and correct non-conformity and non-compliance issues.
- Implement a continual improvement process.
International Labour Organization SMS model
The ILO guidance document is one of the most basic and adaptable models for organisations to utilise when developing a safety management system. In the ILO guidance document, the basic safety management components are:
- Policy: Establish within policy statements the requirements for sufficient resources; define top management commitment and state occupational safety and health (OSH) targets.
- Organizing: How is the organization structured; how is responsibility and accountability defined; how does the organisation communicate internally and externally; what documentation is required and how is training and competency defined.
- Planning and Implementation: How does the organisation plan for, develop and implement its approach to risk management; how are hazards identified and risk effectively managed; what goals and objectives are set to drive OHS performance and measure progress; what arrangements are made for contingency and emergency situations.
- Evaluation: How is OSH performance measured and assessed; what is the processes for the reporting and investigation of accidents and incidents; what internal and external audit processes are in place to review and verify the system.
- Action for Improvement: How are corrective and preventive action created, managed and closed out; what processes are in place to ensure the continual improvement process.
National and international standards
Many countries have developed national safety management models that have become adopted by organisations across a wide range of industries. National standards draw on experience and knowledge from a wide variety of organisations and individuals and can provide a uniform and consistent framework in which to work. In addition, such standards can be externally accessed and certified, which for many organisations is a very desirable goal.
These standards have a number of benefits:
- When widely used, they provide for a consistent approach to managing safety across a wide range of industries.
- When implemented, they result in improvements in safety performance, productivity and employee morale.
- Current and future legislation can be easily incorporated into the safety management system which promotes compliance.
- As new systems develop, it is generally easier to migrate to a new system when an established system is already in place.
- For certified systems, certification implies effective conformance to the standard.
- Many clients and customers see certification against a safety management system as an added value proposition.
The Factories Act, 1948 (Act No. 63 of 1948), as amended by the Factories (Amendment) Act, 1987 (Act 20 of 1987), served to assist in formulating national policies in India with respect to occupational safety and health in factories and docks in India. It dealt with various problems concerning safety, health, efficiency and well-being of the persons at work places. It was replaced by the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020.
The Act is administered by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in India through its Directorate General Factory Advice Service & Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) and by the State Governments through their factory inspectorates. DGFASLI advises the Central and State Governments on administration of the Factories Act and coordinating the factory inspection services in the States.
The Act is applicable to any factory using power & employing 10 or more workers and if not using power, employing 20 or more workers on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on with the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on, or whereon twenty or more workers are working, or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on without the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on; but this does not include a mine, or a mobile unit belonging to the armed forces of the union, a railway running shed or a hotel, restaurant or eating place.
The main focus of Factories Act is towards the Health benefits to the workers. Health Chapter of the Act contains specification from Section 11 to 20. Detailed information of the sections of is provided as under:
Section 11: This section basically specifies the issues of cleanliness at the workplace. It is mentioned in the provision that every factory shall be kept clean and free from effluvia arising from any drain, privy or other nuisance. This includes that there should be no accumulation of dirt and refuse and should be removed daily and entire area should be kept clean.
Section 12: This section specifies on disposal of wastes and effluents. That every factory should make effective arrangements for the treatment of wastes and effluents due to the manufacturing process carried on therein, so as to render them innocuous and for their disposal.
Section 13: This section focuses on ventilation and temperature maintenance at workplace. Every factory should work on proper arrangements for adequate ventilation and circulation of fresh air.
Section 14: This section details on the proper exhaustion of dust and fume in the Factory. In this it is mentioned that factory which deals on manufacturing process should take care of the proper exhaustion of dust, fume and other impurities from its origin point.
Section 15: This section specifies regarding the artificial humidification in factories. In this the humidity level of air in factories are artificially increased as per the provision prescribed by the State Government.
Section 16: Overcrowding is also an important issue which is specified in this section. In this it is mentioned that no room in the factory shall be overcrowded to an extent that can be injurious to the health of workers employed herein.
Section 18: This section specifies regarding arrangements for sufficient and pure drinking water for the workers. There are also some specified provisions for suitable point for drinking water supply. As in that drinking water point should not be within 6 meters range of any washing place, urinal, latrine, spittoon, open drainage carrying effluents. In addition to this a factory where there are more than 250 workers provisions for cooling drinking water during hot temperature should be made.
Section 19: This section provides details relating to urinals and latrine construction at factories. It mentions that in every factory there should be sufficient accommodation for urinals which should be provided at conveniently situated place. It should be kept clean and maintained. There is provision to provide separate urinals for both male and female workers.
Section 20: This section specifies regarding proper arrangements of spittoons in the factory. It is mentioned that in every factory there should be sufficient number of spittoons situated at convenient places and should be properly maintained and cleaned and kept in hygienic condition.
The Factories Act, 1948 also provides provisions relating to safety measures for the workers employed herein. This is to ensure safety of workers working on or around the machines. The detailed information on each provision relating to safety measures is as under:
Section 17: Under section it has been described that there should be proper arrangement of lighting in factories. In every part of the factory where workers are working or passing should be well equipped with lighting arrangement either by natural sources or artificial sources.
Section 21: This section specifies that fencing of machinery is necessary. That any moving part of the machinery or machinery that is dangerous in kind should be properly fenced.
Section 23: This section prescribes that employment of young person on dangerous machinery is not allowed. In the case where he is been fully instructed in the usage of the machinery and working under the supervision he might be allowed to work on it.
Section 24: This section provides provision of striking gear and devices for cutting off power in case of emergency. Every factory should have special devices for cutting off of power in emergencies from running machinery. Suitable striking gear appliances should be provided and maintained for moving belts.
Section 28: This section prohibits working of women and children on specific machinery. As per this section women and children should not be appointed for any part of factory working on cotton pressing.
Section 32: In this section it has been specified that all floors, stairs, passages and gangways should be properly constructed and maintained, so that there are no chances of slips or fall.
Section 34: This section specifies that no person in any factory shall be employed to lift, carry or move any load so heavy that might cause in injury. State Government may specify maximum amount of weight to be carried by workers.
Section 35: This section provides specification regarding safety and protection of eyes of workers. It mentions that factory should provide specific goggles or screens to the workers who are involved in manufacturing work that may cause them injury to eyes.
Section 36: As per this section it is provided that no worker shall be forced to enter any chamber, tank, vat, pit, pipe, flue or other confined space in any factory in which any gas, fume, vapour or dust is likely to be present to such an extent as to involve risk to persons being overcome thereby.
Section 38: As per this section there should be proper precautionary measures built for fire. There should be safe mean to escape in case of fire, and also necessary equipments and facilities to extinguish fire.
Section 45: This section specifies that in every factory there should be proper maintained and well equipped first aid box or cupboard with the prescribed contents. For every 150 workers employed at one time, there shall not be less than 1 first aid box in the factory. Also in case where there are more than 500 workers there should be well maintained ambulance room of prescribed size and containing proper facility.