Third-Party Pros to Check Safety Norms for Labour

Move to free construction cos from clutches of inspector raj

To free construction firms from the clutches of inspector raj, the government plans to allow  independent accredited professionals to check their compliance with labour safety norms. The  new system, apart from curbing corruption and harassment, is also expected to boost workers  safety in the high-risk sector that directly employs over 30 million  Indians. Currently, around 600 labour safety inspectors appointed by state governments are  responsible for ensuring safety at over 3,00,000 construction sites across the country. The  rate of fatal accidents among construction workers is five times higher than manufacturing  sector workers, and 165 out of every 1,000 workers get injured at the workplace, making it the  riskiest sector to work in. We have asked the Quality Council of India to develop a programme  for accredited professionals who can go to building sites where inspectors are unable to  go, and regularly certify their compliance with safety norms, said Anoop Chandra Pandey, joint  secretary in the union labour and employment ministry. Though the powers of regulation will  remain with the state government, the use of third party professionals is expected to help  red-flag genuine safety risks without causing harassment to the industry. Apart from the risk  of fatal accidents, workers also face health hazards from the materials they work with such  as asbestosis, silicosis and lead poisoning. Construction workers are the most vulnerable  segment of the workforce across the world, as their work is unorganised in nature, Pandey  said. Till 1996,India didn't have any laws for such workers protection and the implementation  of the Building and Other Construction Workers Act introduced that year has been patchy. We  are not satisfied with the status of the legislation and policy to ensure workplace safety,  the labour ministry official said. The implementation of the law is not good, though it is  slightly better in bigger projects, compliance is worse in smaller construction sites, he  said, pointing to the difficulties of monitoring lakhs of sites with just 600 inspectors 
notified by states.

 

Economic Times, New Delhi, 30-11-2012

 

 

 
     
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