What is Safety ?

What is Safety:  Safety is simple terms, means freedom from the occurrence or risk of injury or loss. Industrial safety refers to the protection of workers from the danger of industrial accidents. An accident, then is an unplanned and uncontrolled event in which an action or reaction of an object, a substance a person, or a radiation results in personal injury.

Types of Accident: Accident are of different types. They may be classified as major and minor ones, depending upon the severity of the injury. An accident which ends in a death, or which results in a prolonged disability to the injured is a major one. A scratch or a cut which does not seriously disable him/her is a major accident, but an accident nevertheless. A mere incision or a deep scratch, say on the leg or the shoulder, may or may not immediately disable the worker, but he or she may develop disability later. Again, a would which may disable one worker may not disable another who receives a similar injury.

An accident may be internal or external. If a worker falls, or an object falls on him or her, it is possible he or she may no external signs of injury, but he or she may have fractured a bone or stained a muscle or nerve- which is an internal injury. A worker may be disabled by an injury for an hour, half a day, a day, a week, a month, or a few months. If he or she recovers from such a disability, his or her disability is temporary. If the injury is such that he or she will never recover fully, his or her disability Is permanent.

Again a disability may be partial or total. Accidents may be fatal or nonfatal.

Need For Safety: An accident free plant enjoys certain benefits. Major ones are substantial savings in costs, increased productivity and meeting legal and moral requirement. No surprise, that ILO observe April 28, every year as world Day for Safety and Health at work.

Cost Saving: Two types of costs are incurred by the management when an accident occurs. There are the direct costs, in the form of compensation payable to the dependents of the victim if the accident is fatal, and medical expenses incurred in treating the patient if the accident is non-fatal. The management, however, is not liable to meet the direct costs if the victim is injured under the ESI scheme. When the victim is uninsured, compensation and medical expenses are the responsibility of the management. There is cost of risk management, which the medical must bear.

More serious than the direct costs are the indirect or hidden costs which the management cannot avoid. In fact the indirect costs are three to four times higher than the direct costs. Hidden costs include loss on account of down time of operators, slowed-up production rate of other workers, material spoiled and labour for cleaning, and damages to equipment.

When an injured worker returns, he/she may operate at less than his/her normal efficiency for sometimes. Co-workers , too may become emotionally upset for some time and consequently turnout fewer and inferior goods. Finally, customers may be lost because of the non-execution of orders on time.

A safety plant, by avoiding accidents, eliminates these direct and indirect costs.

Increased Productivity: safety plants are efficient plants. To a large extent, safety promotes productivity. Employees in safe plants can devote more time to improving the quality and quality of their output and spend less time worrying about their safety and well-being.

Moral: Safety is important on humane grounds too. Mangers must undertake accident prevention measures to minimize the plain and suffering the injured worker and his/her family is often exposed to as result of the accident. An employee is a worker in the factory and the bread-winner for his/her family. The happiness of his/her family depends upon the health and well-being of the worker. It is no secret that the dependents of a worker look forward to his/her reaching home safe everyday. Imagine their agony when they receive the news that the hands, legs, eyes, hands, or the life itself of their bread-winner has been in jeopardy. True a fatal or non-fatal injury entitles his/her dependents or him to monetary compensation, as per the workmen’s compensation Act 1923.

Legal: There are legal reasons too for undertaken safety. There are laws covering occupational health and safety, and penalties for non-compliance have become quite severe. The reasonability extends to the safety and health of the surrounding community too. The Supreme Court held:

An enterprise which is engaged in a hazardous or inherently dangerous industry which poses a potential threat to the health and safety of the persons working in the factory and industry in the surrounding areas, owes an absolute and non-delegable duty to the community to ensure that no harm results to anyone on account of the hazardous or inherently dangerous nature. This implies unlimited liability.

The civil law establishes the extent of damages or compensation. In criminal law, sentences are prescribed under the pollution control laws. There is no ceiling on the extent of liability.

Finally, financial losses which accompany accidents can be avoided if the free.

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