The life-saving impact of Occupational Health & Safety:
While we are all big fans of Amitabh Bachchan, how many of us remember his movie “Kaala Patthar” – Based on a real life industrial disaster, it highlighted what at that time was a burning concern in India – Mining disasters and made a push for higher standards of safety for occupational health workers.
As per Indian Ministry of Statistics 2020 data on the mining and manufacturing industry in our country, there are 2,46,000 factory units in India employing nearly 1.3 crore people. And this is not including the software and information technology industry or other sectors. Such a large number of people working with heavy machinery and in difficult working terrains like mines and oil rigs are prone for not only accidents but also chronic disease that take a toll on their health and quality of life. Data collated by IndustriALL Global Union, Geneva, tells us that even during the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 116 industrial accidents in India resulting in the deaths of at least 231 people.
The Indian government has ensured that occupational health and safety takes center stage at any industrial organization through its inclusion as a mandate in the Factories Act, 1948 and also through the Dock workers (safety health and welfare) act, 1986. The Directorate General Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI), is the custodian of these laws and in turn the occupational health and safety of any industrial worker in India.
How have these laws impacted us?
The data in this graph from the Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) shows the decreasing trend of the rate of accidents and deaths that have occurred per 1000 people in coal and non-coal mines in India from 1971 to 2020. This suggests that adherence to occupational health and safety protocols laid down by the govt. of India leads to more lives being saved.
Occupational Health clinics and Standby Ambulances:
Occupational health centers (OHC) and standby emergency ambulance services are an integral part of the provision of health and safety in Industries.
Occupational Health Centers: Working environments and the nature of work can have a tremendous impact on an industrial worker’s health. The increasing number of work-related ailments was what prompted the need for these OHCs but they have now evolved.
OHCs today handle quite a few health related activities at industrial units, including those mentioned below:
- 24×7 onsite emergency medical care including ambulance services
- Treatment of job related injuries
- Specialist doctor visits and if needed, appropriate referrals
- Periodic health checkup camps
- Environmental health and safety audits
- Biomedical waste management
- Inventory management of OHCs
- Exposure evaluation and monitoring of workers in high risk environments
- Health risk analysis of workers exposed to occupational hazards
- Awareness and health education activities for workers
To be able to do all of this, OHCs are staffed round the clock by Certified Factory Medical Officers and supported by well-trained nurses and paramedics.
One of the crucial roles of an OHC is providing care during medical emergencies. As industrial units are usually located away from Hospitals, the provision of a well-equipped standby ambulance is of the highest priority. Industrial accidents can happen anytime. Factory doctors are not only expected to provide high quality emergency care but also, to safely transfer the victim to a healthcare facility in time. This can make the difference between life and death for them. A well-equipped standby ambulance along with a trained paramedic nurse or EMT ensures that in such a scenario, the patient gets safely transferred while also seamlessly receiving the most appropriate care enroute.
Most industrial units in India have recognised the need for a doctor equipped OHC and a paramedic equipped standby ambulance. Their adherence to health & safety protocols mandated by the Govt. of India, has ensured that the number of fatalities from Industrial accidents is steadily decreasing. At Red.Health, we believe in supporting these factory OHCs with our fleet of well-equipped ambulances and well-trained paramedics. Together, we aim to make Indian industry the safest and healthiest places for our workforce.