Workplace Safety Audit in India
Safety Audit of factories involved in hazardous processes and dangerous occurrences, has established itself in India. The complete credit goes to the 1987 amendments in the Factories Act, 1948 that we know as Chapter IVA assigning provisions relating to hazardous processes.
It was the 1984 Bhopal disaster that took 16000 lives and crippled more than 500,000 people which prompted a serious review of existing safety enactments. Safety Audit has now become one of the spearheads to bring about a safe and healthy ecosystem in industrial establishments.
In the years that has passed since the tragic Bhopal incident, the accident rate, the rate of dangerous occurrences and hazardous disasters have come down drastically. While the production and productivity are touching new heights with their graph always pointing upward, this achievement becomes more distinct. The cut-throat globalization and competitiveness have changed the definition of accident from “freedom from risk or danger” to “permissible level of risk”. But it is a supplement to the statutory monitoring coupled with management’s concern that in spite of of new dimensions achieved in risk taking activities; as are apparent in upcoming technological achievements and, of course, in the inflating Guinness World of Records, we have not heard of any great misfortune or tragedy connected with industrial activity since 1984.
Safety audit begins with self-appraisal by an individual employee. He is promoted to check his credentials against unsafe act committed knowingly or unknowingly. The factory carries out its internal safety audit since they are well aware that an accident or dangerous occurrence retard productivity adding to the loss while an accident free period has become a marked value-addition. They to pay attention to the golden rule of “A Penny Saved is A Penny Earned”. The society, too, has risen to an accident free ecosystem. They have whistle blowers and Non-Government organizations armoured with the latest “Right to Information (RTI) Rules. Various statutory authorities in India are also equipped with state of the art hardware and software to monitor and clarify any malpractices leading to accidents and dangerous occurrences. for example, satellite imagery, at once, show where there is smoke in the sky and brown water gushing into flows and rivers.
External safety audits and internal safety audits have their own inherent qualities. An internal safety audit, carried out by a committee constituted from experienced experts of a factory, discloses most unhidden unsafe acts and unsafe conditions. After-all, the occupier and its employees know better than others about conditions in their factory. An external safety audit, carried out by experts constituted from other factories, academic professionals or those registered with the DGFASLI brings out a non-complacent, un-corrupted, perspective report coupled with benchmarked solutions and advice.
By far, the best kind of safety audit could only be carried out where both the in-house experts and expert guest blend together to review and enhance a locus standi and modus operandi.
Under the guidance and umbrella of a regular safety audit with religious follow-up measures, factories are inching slowly but steadily, towards a zero accident and zero pollution benchmark.
The objective of a comprehensive safety audit is to examine systematically and independently whether activities and related results conform to planned arrangements and whether these arrangements are implemented safely and effectively to unprotected to the organization’s written safety and health policy. The endeavor would be to collect independent information on the efficiency, effectiveness and reliability of the total health and safety management system and suggesting plans or corrective actions to enhance upon. The objective is to examine each stage in the health and safety management system for measuring compliance with the controls, the organization has developed, with the ultimate aim of assessing their effectiveness and their validity for the future.
The objective is to carry our methodic basic appraisal of all the possible hazards involving man, machine and material which also embodies in itself plant sets and method of operation. In general, the objective is to cover the examination and qualitative assessment of all aspects of safety in every activity which includes research and development, design ad layout, occupational health and hygiene, environmental characterize ad control, plant, product and course of action safety, employee and public safety. It involves a review of safety and health aspect in the production, technical operation, maintenance, clearance certificates, emergency procedures, job description, operating instructions, training, housekeeping, personal attitude, management-worker relationship, workers’ participation in health and safety matters etc.
The office of the Chief Advisor of Factories which is now called Director General, Factory Advice, sets and Labour Institute has brought out a comprehensive format to carry out a safety audit of a workplace/factory formation. A specialist safety specialized or team of safety experts may base their exercise on the below mentioned format. They may improvise upon to enhance it further. The safety audit report would be deemed to be complete if each an every points is reviewed and complemented with findings and expert advice for future course correction.
The Safety audit format is as under:
1.0 GENERAL INFORMATION
a) SITE INFORMATION
· Area of the site (site layout & area 10 Km radius drawing.
· Number of employees
· Products manufactured and capacity
· Meteorological data of the area
b) PRODUCTION INFORMATION
· Products made
· course of action details (general) with specific reference to hazardous steps/area
· Raw materials/intermediates with inventory
· Hazardous material used with inventory
· Storage of material- capacity, location, storage conditions and details.
c) COPIES FOR CONSULTATION
· Recent safety audit report
· danger examination
· Risk examination
· On-site Plan and mock trials thereon
· Off-site plan for the area.
2.0 MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
a) SAFETY POLICY
· Content of the Policy
· Promotions/awareness Build-up
· Awareness at various levels
· Willingness to learn/change
· Recognition of safety as an important function
c) SAFETY STRUCTURE
· Organization structure – reporting relationship
· Qualification/experience of meaningful persons
· Roles and responsibility
· Specific knowledge on auditing/danger examination etc.
· Accountability of line managers for safety
· Safety as a factor in performance appraisal
· Role of safety in MES
3.0 SAFETY SYSTEMS
a) SAFETY FUNCTION
· Role of safety vis-à-vis other roles
· Procedure governing safety at works
· Training given to safety personnel/other employees
b) SAFETY INSTRUCTION
· Works Standing Instructions
· Area Instructions
· Statutory Warnings/Instructions
· Manuals (Safety/Fire/Others)
· Statutory Compliance
d) FIRE PROTECTION
· Installation detail
· Schedule of FEA/Protection Equipment (detectors) etc.
· Fire Load Assessment
· Fire Alarm/Siren
· Fire fighting arrangement (Water, tender etc.)
· External sustain
· Codes and Standards.
e) PERMIT TO WORK/CLEARANCE
· Work Order
· Permit to work system
f) SAFETY INSPECTION
· Frequency of inspection
· Constitution f team
· Reporting of results
· Action on deficiencies
· Safety sampling
· Abnormal incidents/deviation
· Constitution of team
· Examination of sample report
· Safety auditing
· Inspection of safety features
· Agencies utilized (in-house/external)
· Action arising from audits
· position of compliance with regulation
· Register of compliance
j) EMERGENCY MAMANEGMENT
· danger examination
· On-site plan
· unprotected scenario development
· Off-site plan
· Mock trials
· Mutual aid scheme
· Safety communication
· Safety committee
· Warning signs/posters
· Information sharing
· Training programme (Safety/Fire/First Aid)
4.0 TECHNICAL SYSTEMS
· Design documentation
· Codes and standards adopted
· Updating of documents
· Plant modifications
· Identification of vessels, pipelines etc.
· Operating procedures
· Training of personnel
· Operational safety consideration
· Maintenance procedures
· Inspection of vessels/equipment/pipelines- condition monitoring
· History cards
· Job safety examination
· Electrical area classification
· Safety protective (Relief valves, burst discs, trip systems etc._
· Corrosion an monitoring
· Codes and standards
d) PERSONAL PROTECTION
· Area classification
· Work area toxic
· Personal protective equipment
· Employee health monitoring
5.0 HUMAN FACTOR
· kind of union/relationship
· Labour problems
· Communication on safety issues
· Participation in safety
· Safety training programmes
· Effectiveness evaluation
· Suggestion schemes
d) REVIEW course of action
· Review of safety
· Participants review
· Improvement plans
6.0 FACILITY SAFETY AUDIT
Visit site to estimate physically the safety position including housekeeping.
A safety audit well executed, and follow-up safety measures religiously adopted would spontaneously consequence in achieving a healthy index of the factory. A safety index is the ratio of the safety position of the past year and the current year. This index would be less than 1. The more a factory is concerned about the safety, occupational health of its employees and the ecosystem upkeep, the lesser and healthier would be the safety index.