3M India Ltd in collaboration with Directorate General Factory Advice Service & Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) recently welcomed the ‘Audhyogik Suraksha Rath’ (mobile industrial safety training van) at Central Labour Institute, Mumbai.
This “Suraksha Rath” is a part of a joint initiative between DGFASLI and 3M India Ltd under an MoU signed on September 12, 2017, for driving education and awareness on worker safety at workplace across the country. Since its launch on September 17, 2017, the first “Suraksha Rath” has so far successfully trained over 6,000 industrial workers in north India. This “Suraksha Rath” in Mumbai, the second in the series, will now travel across various industrial sectors in the western region of the country creating industrial safety and health awareness through training programs.
In a select media interaction, Ms Debarati Sen, Managing Director 3M India Region (India & Sri Lanka) stressed on the need for safety of workers, stressing that no productivity would be possible without safety. She went to suggest that safety should be part of the exercise of skilling the labour force. Sen also explained why the involvement of a third party like 3M proves effective. “While one can expect workers to learn from their employers, what we have seen is that when a third-party goes and trains, they listen because we are not their ‘normal supervisors’”. Sen explained the purpose of the collaboration with DGFASLI is to create awareness so that workers can understand products better and take up self-protection more seriously and consciously.
Since its launch in September this year, the first “Suraksha Rath” has so far successfully trained over 6,000 industrial workers in north India.
Meanwhile, 3M has pledged that through such safety vans, it will cover one million workers in three years. “But we are sure that we can cross it much sooner,” observed Sen.
Dr Avneesh Singh, Director General, Factory Advice Service & Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) noted that while several collaborative ventures have been launched in the past, all of them were with government agencies. The collaboration with 3M represents the first collaboration with a private entity. Dr Singh explained that DGFASLI would draw up the logistics plan for the “Suraksha Rath,” identifying the exact locations (industrial clusters) where the safety van would hold demonstrations and training. DGFASLI would also be responsible for collecting feedback and sending the same to the Union ministry of Labour & Employment, under which it falls.
When asked about whether this was the first such safety awareness venture for 3M, Debarati Sen explained that such campaigns are part of 3M’s activities worldwide and have already been held in countries like China, Mexico, US, among several others.
In response to a question on about whether the involvement of foreign companies in India, either as joint ventures or wholly-owned subsidiaries, has influenced overall safety standards in India, Dr Avneesh Singh was positive. “Companies from developed countries come with much higher standards of safety and protection. Laws are more stringent there,” Dr Singh remarked. The high standard of safety of companies from developed nations was definitely helping Indian companies, the Director General felt.
Dr Singh cited the example of the readymade garment industry that is present in India in a big way. There was a time when multinationals took to Bangladesh to set up their processing units, with a view to save on labour and material costs. While much demand started shifting from India to Bangladesh, serious concerns with regard to safety issues starting cropping up, and several factory accidents were reported. It was then that the industry started returning to India.
Featured photograph shows the “Suraksha Rath” on display at the Central Labour Institute premises in Mumbai. This safety van will soon begin its mission of creating safety awareness in industrial areas of western India.