Every industry requires a prioritised sense of, and action towards, safety. Certain industries must focus on ergonomic safety even more due to the occupational hazards they offer. Industries like construction, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, FMCG, logistics, paint, automobile (and more) work with heavy equipment on a daily basis, which increases the risk of injuries manifold.
As per the ILO, currently, more than 374 million people are injured or made ill every year through work-related accidents. It is estimated that workdays lost to OSH related causes represent almost 4% of global GDP, in some countries as much as 6%. According to the report, more than 50% of injuries go unreported.
Major Safety Challenges in the Industry:
1. The industries are fast-paced
Most of the industries like the ones mentioned above are fast-paced and require quick progress of the bulk work. Be it cutting open casing, removing strapping bands, removing box covers, scraping stickers or making window cuts; all these tasks are performed with sharp tools and must be done fast.
2. Outdated/unsafe tools & equipment
The tools and equipment used in industries are often outdated and unsafe. The tools do not match up to the basic requirements of being effective, sturdy, safe and comfortable to use. Even if the tools are of good quality, they are overused to the point that they become a harmful personal weapon.
3. Precision is demanded, but the tools cannot provide it
These industries need sharp, safe tools, which are customised for each task undertaken. Without such tools, precision is compromised which leads to putting more effort into a task, decreasing efficiency and productivity, and eventually neglecting safety. Such tools disturb the fast-paced work environment; in order to keep up with the speed, one ends up compromising safety.
4. Occupational health & safety is not prioritised
Often, the nature of work is prioritised over a worker’s safety. There are three main reasons for this:
- Availability of manpower: The high unemployment level of in India provides for labour at low wages, where safety can be comfortably compromised.
- Strict budgets: Limited budgets for purchasing the latest tools and maintaining the existing ones leads to a higher risk of safety.
- No awareness of occupational hazards and safety solutions available: Most companies are not aware of the severity of the workplace environment and the option of safety tools available for their work.
5. Injuries go unreported
In spite of injuries being very common and prominent in these industries, they often go unreported. Cuts and wounds are considered to be a usual activity, which do not need any special attention. However, one must keep in mind that it could be minor cuts for ten people, but could be fatal for one. Workplace injuries have human costs.
Because of the above reasons, injuries are very common in such industrial workplaces. In this situation, one must know what to do in case of an injury, especially cuts and lacerations, which are highly likely while using cutters and blades. Often times, a first aid kit is not readily available. It is at this time that one must know how to handle the wound.