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New National Labour Policy Must Include Workers Occupational & Environmental Health Rights

Written By krishna on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | 2:35 AM

Note:There is a need to re-visit the recommendations of the first National Commission on Labour (the Gajendragadkar Commission) and factor in The Occupational Health and Safety Bill, 2002, (DRAFT) while finalizing the National Labour Policy besides recommending ratification of the important ILO conventions. The Second National Commission on Labour Report also mentioned the need for law on occupational health and safety. The 17th session of Indian Labour Conference held in 1959 discussed the functions of the works committee and had approved a list of functions which could be assigned to the works committees, "occupational diseases" were part of that list.

The Second National Commission on Labour Report too had endorsed the proposal for a "Commission on Occupational Safety and Health should be set up by the Central and State Governments". It had provided a draft bill for establishment of such a
Commission and a Model Safety and Health Policy for organisations in its report.

Other significant recommendations read:

"In view of the increasing pace of industrialisation, there is an urgent need to strengthen measures for occupational, safety and health in industries. The DGFASLI may be asked to devote special attention to hazardous chemical industry."

"We have recommended the formation of a National Board to bring about necessary coordination amongst various organisations functioning under different Ministries that deal with the area of safety and occupational health."

"Occupational Safety and Health have to be the responsibility and duty of the employer. The employer should make appropriate arrangements for the establishment of OSH Management Systems. The system should contain the main elements of policy, organising, planning implementation, evaluation and means of improvement."

"A competent institution, perhaps on the lines of Occupational Safety and Health
Commission of the USA, should be nominated to formulate, implement and periodically
review a coherent national policy for the establishment and promotion of OSH
Management Systems in organisations."

"The institution charged with the responsibility of formulating and implementing the
national policy on safety and occupational health should establish a national framework to identify and establish the respective functions and responsibilities of the various institutions called upon to aid and implement the national policy."

Gopal Krishna
Occupational Health India

Prevention of silicosis, asbestosis key parts of new labour policy

Provisions for prevention of such serious ailments as silicosis and asbestosis are going to become important parts of the new National Labour Policy.

The Factory Chief Inspectors, who have assembled in the State capital for thrashing out solutions to serious problems faced by labourers, have presented their recommendation to this effect. Prevention of silicosis among labourers of slate pencil industry in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh is a crying need and the recommendation will pave the way for its inclusion in the National Labour Policy. The first discussion session of the three-day conference of Chief Factory Inspectors was focused mainly on health concerns of labourers.

Special attention is being given to prevention of industry-generated diseases in the National Labour Policy-2009, which is going to be amended and re-implemented soon. The Factory Chief Inspectors apart from cure of such diseases also laid greater emphasis on their prevention. Provisions for prevention of such diseases will be implemented uniformly in the entire country after identification of diseases and seeking views of scientists and experts.

The demand for major changes in the Labour Act 1948 has gained ground in view of speedy industrialisation with latest techniques under the present scenario. The participants came out with various suggestions for giving more teeth to the laws concerning labourers’ health security.

The Factory Chief Inspectors registered their opposition to different rules under Act prevalent in different States. They argued that they face several difficulties in implementing different provisions under the Labour Act 1848 since the employers of one State quote the provisions prevalent in one State when they start industry in another State. For removing this hurdle, the Factory Chief Inspectors suggested to bring about uniformity of these rules in all the States. They also cited various difficulties in detail about implementation of some rules and suggested to make them practicable.

Over 50 Factory Chief Inspectors and higher officials of the Union and Madhya Pradesh Governments are meeting in the city during a three-day conference for undertaking an exercise to amend National Labour Policy. Tuesday was the second day of the conference.


Objections raised over draft labour policy

PUNE: The Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP) of the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (GIPE) has registered objections to the draft labour policy of the state government, saying that it has certain lacunae like ignoring of unrecognised and non-industrial sectors in the draft.

The GIPE and the National Centre for Advocacy Studies (NCAS) recently submitted their objections to the state labour ministry.

The objections are an outcome of a public consultation held at the GIPE in the presence of various experts and were submitted to the government by GIPE director Rajas Parchure, CSSEIP reader Prashant Bansode and NCAS executive director Sehjo Singh. Other objections raised are the non-compliance with the national commissions and policies on labour and undue importance given to contract labourers despite the presence of temporary labour laws.

Swati Shinde Gole
TOI, March 19, 2011

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