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Govt. to formulate national policy on safety at work

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 5 (UNI) A national policy on safety and health at work is on the anvil, Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Chandra Sekhar Sahu today said.

A draft of the policy prepared by the Labour Ministry is being discussed in inter-ministerial consultations, Mr Sahu said while inaugurating a three-day national conference on occupational safety and health at the Vigyan Bhavan.

The policy will set the ground for laws to tackle issues related to accidents at workplaces. A general legislation on safety and health is also being considered by the Ministry to provide minimum basis standards of safety and health to wokers in different sectors in a phased manner, he said.

The government has constituted a working group on occupational safety and health under the chairmanship of Labour Secretary K M Sahni. National Safety Council is also represented in the working group that has members from various ministries and departments of the central and state governments.

The recommendations of the ongoing conference will be submitted to the working group, which in turn will present them to the Planning Commission for the making of the Eleventh Plan.

''Safety and health of workers especially in the unorganised sector employing 90 per cent of the workforce cannot be met merely by legislative action,'' said Mr Sahu at the conference attended by about 750 delegates from trade unions, governments, industry and professional bodies.

Over two million workers die every year across the world from work-related diseases and the figure is on the rise. The challenge is bigger in India as more than 90 per cent of its workforce is in the unorganised sectors like agriculture and construction that is not covered under any safety programmes. The construction industry, the second largest employer in the unorganised sector, tops in the high rate of fatal accidents.

Mr Sahu also presented the National Safety Awards for 2004 and 2005. The top Sarvashrestha Puraskar for 2005 was bagged by GAIL's LPG Recovery Plant at Vijaipur, Madhya Pradesh. No organisation qualified for the top award for 2004.

UNI FZ PA BS1840

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