Ex Ramakrishnan occupational safety health R. STAHL

Director Operations talks about 5 key ways

to unlock the doors of Occupational Safety and Health


Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) stretches beyond the boundaries of office walls, enhances the psychological connect of employees to the organization and is a clear differentiator in bringing about sustainable high performing teams. In the globally acclaimed Aon Hewitt employee engagement model, workplace environment features as a dominant impact driver in creating an engaged workforce. Hence OSH is transforming as a catalyst to an Organization’s wellbeing than staying within the confined pages of academic interest. As per the data from ILO, 2.3 to 2.78 million employees suffering with fatal and occupational diseases every year is a clear testimony to drive OSH and intensify actions to internalize OSH among employees.

 Here are the five commandments to promulgate OSH at workplace

1. Providing safe work conditions

All occupational safety hazards can be eliminated by providing required safe working conditions. It covers both physical as well as conditions contributing to psychological changes in employees. Physical conditions include selection and upkeep of right equipment, devices and systems. Other conditions are anything from workplace ventilation, temperature, illumination, cleanliness to welfare activities.

2. Preventing unsafe employee action

Mere provision of  safe conditions does not ensure in creating and maintaining Safety. All activities must be carried in safe way and should not result in risk of health and safety of employees. Young employees are more vulnerable to unsafe acts due to their quench for recognition, risk taking ability and hunger for success. Safety induction at the outset for employees coupled with periodic training and regular audits promotes change in behavioural aspects towards safe working.

3. Inducing & Rewarding Safety

Responsibility of improving safe act lies with employees, employers and society at large. Safety to be taught as educational curriculum, which will create positive behaviours towards safety. Regular engagement with employees on OSH is necessary to bridge communication gaps and foster safe acts. Safety needs to be positioned as an employer value proposition (EVP) and hence institutionalizing this in one’s own work should be awarded suitably. & SHARP (Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program) will strongly drive home the Organization’s emphasis on OSH.

4. PFMEA –People Failure Mode Effect Analysis

Taking a cue from the conventional design processes, a ‘People’ Failure Mode Effect analysis will serve as a welcome step to prevent any untoward incidents. All historical occupational safety failures can be captured similar to product design stage. The variables (reasons) with highest risk priority number (repeatability, severity and occurrence) can be publicised largely to prevent failures in human safety at organizations.

5. Revisiting Manufacturing Processes in changing industry landscape

With the onset of Industry 4.0 and advancement in automation, cyber physical systems and rising intelligent machines, organizations need to implement modern techniques to prevent incidents.  It is but for obvious to stress on the usage of SMART PPE in potential areas of Safety incidents. Wherever possible, usage of techniques like POKE - YOKE to be extended beyond quality to avoid incidents even with unsafe acts. Establishing benchmarking mechanisms and constant collaboration through cooperative programs with VPP (Voluntary Protection Programs) will go a long way in driving OSH among employees.

As we humans accumulate wealth and comforts, there is a rising epidemic of an unwell workforce which our local and global communities cannot afford. It’s critical to resonate with what our hyper connected, tech savvy workforce communicates with us and the key is to listen to them and their needs and how to thereby keep them safe & healthy at our factories. OSH is prima facie the clinical barometer of an organization’s wellbeing and hence assumes utmost significance in the organization’s very existence let alone it’s performance.  

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