“The safety of the people shall be the highest law” is a true saying.Living a safe and healthy life is the dream of every individual and assuring that safety and security is around everyone, becomes every woman’s responsibility. For her, safety – of life, health, nature and environment; is never on a day off. But, how important is her safety for you? Think your world without her and you would know how important is her safety and especially, where she works. In today’s time when you hear about many accidents and unsafe cases of women in their workplace, it is equally important that they have a healthy and safe work environment. They spend their whole day in the place of work including traveling, attending meetings and what not… So, isn’t it important that they keep safe where they work and spend their entire day? Keeping this aspect in mind, the Ministry of Labor, Government of India (GOI), established National Safety Council, and every year from 4th March – 10th March, National Safety Day/Week is celebrated.
The objective of the initiative is to develop and sustain a voluntary movement on Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) at the national level. The day has been making an impact since three decades and has significantly contributed in reduction of the rate of industrial accidents and has also created awareness even in such sectors, which have not been covered by any safety legislation. However, when it comes to women, safety in the workplace and work environment in every aspect is of utmost importance. So, let’s have a detailed look at understanding the day and how it impacts the working society.
Understanding National Safety Day
The day is celebrated to create safety awareness among people from many issues such as Financial Loss, Health problems, and how to prevent industrial accidents. The day is all about making work environment safe and secure for everyone, especially women. The aim is to create awareness of work safely throughout the year. When we talk about safety concerns they include industrial accidents, chemicals and electrical safety, risk handling and assessment, fire control, first aid knowledge, along with women safety issues (workplace violence, harassment, judgment, timeline problems etc.)
The day/week is being celebrated across the nation by industries, trade unions, regulatory agencies and NGOs to increase safety awareness and reduce accidents.
What is SHE?
The origin of National Safety Day was set up to develop and sustain a voluntary movement on Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) at the national level. It was registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and subsequently, as a Public Trust under the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950. The movement is a discipline and specialty that studies and implements practical aspects of environmental protection and safety at work. This movement should be followed by organizations to make sure that their activities do not cause harm to anyone. The primary objective of celebrating this day/week is to take Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) movement to different parts of the country.
Significance of SHE for organizations
Life is a precious gift and it is everyone’s responsibility to keep it safe and secure. However, any mishap or industrial accident can cause harm to an individual’s life. Especially, if we talk about women being safe and secure at the workplace, and thus, SHE comes into the place. The movement focuses on implementing all the safety procedures and mechanisms that will not only benefit employees by having a healthy workplace, but will also benefit companies by offering safer workplaces. The significance of this movement is to create a preventive culture scientific mindset and organized approach to SHE issues. These issues are basic humanitarian concern such as industrial accidents, fire mishaps; chemical and electrical incidents and women harassment cases are few from the list. An effective addressal of all these issues will be greatly facilitated if their intrinsic relationship with quality and productivity is well demonstrated.
The movement holds great importance from health and safety viewpoint as it involves creating organized efforts and procedures for identifying workplace hazards and reducing accidents and exposure to harmful situations and substances. The activities held for better understanding of SHE also include training of personnel in accident prevention, accident response, emergency preparedness, and use of protective clothing and equipment. From an environmental viewpoint, it involves creating a systematic approach to complying with environmental regulations, such as managing waste or air emissions all the way to helping site’s reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Successful SHE programs also include measures to address ergonomics, air quality, and other aspects of workplace safety that could affect the health and well-being of employees and the overall community.
Now, let’s have a look at some of the steps towards SHE and women safety at the workplace.
- Administration of safety and health pledge by the employees led by the topmost executives.
- The activities begin by unfurling the national NSD flag, and pinning of the NSD badge on employees.
- Banners displayed at strategic locations in the units.
- Safety competitions are organized such as essay, slogans, posters, housekeeping, safety performance etc. Safety suggestions, exhibitions, plays /drama, songs, qawalies etc. are all part of the activities.
- Training programs/workshops/seminars etc. are also a part of the week long activities.
- Screening of films on safety is also organized to inculcate the appropriate safety habits in the employees.
- Practical demonstrations on PPE/Fire Fighting etc.
- Organizing emergency drills/ display of mobile exhibition, holding award functions/inviting eminent guest speakers and community awareness programs.
- For women safety, it is important to invoke strong commitment towards this cause.
- It is also important to create a mechanism to address different perspectives in the organization for women safety.
- Deploying technology to help address issues faced by women at the workplace, mandating appropriate work practices, and instituting safe working conditions for women is equally important.
- It is also vital to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards this cause, dealing with cultural matters effectively and engaging third party service providers to deal with any women safety issue effectively.
Theme of 2019 – National Safety Day
Cultivate and Sustain a Safety Culture for Building Nation – Theme of National Safety Day 2019.
The aim of the theme is to broaden the scope and impact of safety in changing business environment from inward of the organization to outwards of the organization. Linking workplace health and safety, especially of women also implies that the business case for investing in workplace health and safety improvements and performance.
So, let’s take a pledge to keep the work environment safe and secure, especially for women, in the interest of self, family, community, organization, and the nation at large!
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