Author Bio ▼

Heather Beach is Founder and Managing Director of The Healthy Work Company and has been running businesses in health and safety for over 20 years. Having run Barbour, SHP and Safety and Health Expo, she is now running her own business. The Healthy Work Company provides solutions which drive the wellbeing agenda to enable thriving in the workplace at all levels. Offering more than simply training, it delivers strategic support for your wellbeing programme. “We are driving the mental health agenda towards how human beings thrive in life – often through work, not in spite of it!”

Heather can be reached on [email protected].

November 27, 2014

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OSH India: improving safety knowledge

[mk_image src=”http://www.shponline.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/photo2-e1417098120109.jpg” image_width=”400″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”outside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″ desc=”Kevin Myers, Shri VB Sent, Heather Beach, Alex Botha and Yogesh Mudras”]

OSH India conference and exhibition is currently taking place at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, (27, 28 November) is in its third year and reflecting a growing interest in health and safety in India, is in massive growth mode.

With 80 + exhibitors numbering among them Scott Safety, British Safety Council, Nebosh, IOSH, Cirrus, Honeywell and 3M, a new event in Chennai in 2014 and a record 100+ conference delegates there is an expected increase to around 3,000 visitors and judging by Day One attendance – this is likely to be true.

Exhibitors Bjoern Krempl of Paulson International were looking for distributors and said “We are very satisfied with the quantity and quality of visitors and we expect the event to raise the profile of the Arc Shield brand”

Paul Nock, Director of Safety Training India said “This is a good, fun event and we enjoy being here. It’s a great platform for meeting new and existing students.”

[mk_image src=”http://www.shponline.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/photo3-e1417098183342.jpg” image_width=”400″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”outside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″ desc=”Kevin Myers, Shri VB Sent and Alex Botha light the Ganesh lamp “]

The conference kicked off with the lighting of the Ganesh lamp for success and some very high profile speakers from the UK and India. It was interesting to notice that whilst India and the UK are at very different stages in their national safety culture development, the issues discussed at this conference are very similar to those discussed in the UK – how to win hearts and minds, how to convince business of the value of investing in safety.

Shri V.B. Sent from NSC India, explained that whilst accident and fatality stats were improving every year, only 7% of the workforce in India is part of organised labour therefore subject to legislation. He hoped that outside of those organisations, the Government’s “Clean India” campaign could be used to promote good health and safety practise

Kevin Myers, deputy Chief Executive of HSE explained why the UK had a focus on occupational diseases. That 2.34m people die every year worldwide in work related accidents or occupational diseases (source: ILO). The vast majority of these are occupational disease related.

[mk_image src=”http://www.shponline.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/image1.jpeg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”outside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″ desc=”Carolyn Issitt, IOSH, explains the competency framework”][mk_image src=”http://www.shponline.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/photo4-e1417098219915.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”outside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″ desc=”The penel debate at the OSH India Conference”]

Alex Botha of the British Safety Council led a panel debate on leadership where familiar topics emerged. The tangible and intangible benefits of good health and safety management, the use of carrot and stick and the difficulties for safety professionals who are often from a technical background but may lack the communication and influencing skills.

Kevin Myers explained that change takes a long time. That the UK is deemed to be very good at this but has been doing it for 200 years. That most countries in the world which are developing a manufacturing economy want to improve standards because they recognise that as the standard of living of their society improves then the expectations of their community are raised too.

The difficulties of creating a business case were discussed in detail when the measure of success is that “nothing happens”. Kevin Myers explained that it was easier for a large business to see the ROI but for an SME, whilst they might be lucky, an accident could lose them their business. He also talked about the cost/benefit argument for good process planning in general of which health and safety forms a key part. HSE did a study of the construction of a supermarket. Every incident where there was a loss of process was tracked and the overall costs were 10% of the total project costs.

“Some people change because they see the light and others because they feel the heat. The job of labour inspectors is to help them to see the light and those who don’t to feel the heat.” Kevin Myers

[mk_image src=”http://www.shponline.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/image2-e1417097782283.jpeg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″]

The Event Build

A perfect case study for the difficulties of managing safety in India

You may remember the report in SHP Online that UBM was attempting to show leadership in India through training staff, key contractors and the venue in the IOSH International G-Guide for events safety.  UBM formed a plan to improve safety which included putting a 4m cap on the height of stands and appointing two main contractors who were fully trained and bought in.

UBM staff and contractors, for the first time, were fully kitted out in PPE, complete with dust mask (unlike a UK event, the stands are literally built within the hall so it is very dusty). However, in spite of notices around the hall, there were concerning safety infringements in evidence. The difficulty appears to reside in the lack of any stand builders with appropriately trained staff and the number of staff (often transient and not part of the 7% quoted by Kevin Myers earlier as part of organised labour) required to work on an event like this which can be as many as 200. Enforcement can be lacking because there is no one any better trained to take the place of the man sent off. It is a dilemma which will take time to address especially with the cultural norms in place. However we will formulate a plan over the coming months to improve things over time.

[mk_image src=”http://www.shponline.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/image.jpeg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][mk_image src=”http://www.shponline.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/image3-e1417097876260.jpeg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″]

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