In a recent case where two workers died while working at the Anna University, the reputed institution was accused of not providing necessary safety kit to the construction workers. The workers had been called up to seal a tank opening on the campus. The hazardous chemicals that were being used proved fatal for their health. The workers kept working while inhaling in the toxic environment. They were found dead a few hours later. A sub-contractor also came under the scanner for not offering sufficient security equipment to its employees, the workers. (read the case here)
The above case emphasizes the need for a mechanism to keep employees safe. It also highlights how organizations must be aware of their obligations towards their employees’ safety. Employers need to adhere to some minimal security measures prescribed by law to protect their valued workers. The 2003 International Labour Organisation (ILO) statistics claimed that 403,000 people died from work-related problems in India.
To reduce such work-related accidents and improve the working environment in the country, let’s have a look at the some of the simple safety measures to be taken for employees under laws such as the Factory Act of 1948 and the Worker Compensation Act of 1923:
- Proper Ventilation
- Providing adequate ventilation in factories and warehouses can be difficult. However, you need to be aware that this is the essential requirement for the safety of your workers and the security of your machines and equipment.
- Poor air quality can affect the workers causing dizziness, irritation in eyes and throat, headaches, nausea, and mental fatigue.
- Also, if there is proper ventilation at the workplace, excess contaminants like dust and fumes are regularly removed.
- According to the Factories Act, 1948, cleanliness in the factories, offices and business units needs to be maintained along with proper lighting, toilet and drinking water facilities for the workers.
- Adequate Working Hours
- It is not advisable to put pressure on the employee and make him work beyond the adequate time limit that is prescribed by It reduces the efficiency of the worker leaving him tired and worn off.
- It is prescribed that organizations must strictly follow the rule of the specified working hours which are 8 hours a day for adults and 5 hours per day for children above 14 years of age.
- Machinery for settlement of any disputes
- The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 provides the facility of settling any disputes between the employees and the management of an organization in a friendly
- The Act prescribes a particular method of solving of a dispute. It is done through setting up of a works committee that consists of the representatives of the workmen and the employers selected in the prescribed manner and then, resolving the issue through a conciliatory committee and other measures which is taken by the Government.
- Providing compensation for accidental while on duty
Injuries can happen anywhere including workplaces. However, for any injury that an employee suffers while on duty, an employer can be held liable under the Workmen Compensation Act, 1923.
The employer must cover the medical expenses incurred by the employee in such cases. The Act also includes employer’s obligation of financial compensation in the form of:
- Education expenses for at least two children of the injured
- transportation expenses for the family for the prescribed period
- Provision for vocational training of the injured employee in another field of work in case he is not able to resume the same line of work due to partial or total disability.
- Some part of the salary for the period in which the employee is unable to work due to partial physical disability.
Employer however can buy workmen compensation (includes liability under Industrial Disputes Act. as well) or group personal accident insurance to cover these legal financial liabilities towards their workers.
- Avail Employee Health Insurance Schemes
- Workers must be insured against any huge hospital expenses. It is one of the core security measures that an employer can provide to his employees.
- An employee health insurance not only motivates the employees but also helps in reducing the attrition rates. This is because the employees are intent on maintaining their health through regular checkups if they have a suitable financial cover to rely upon.
Above are listed some of the important security measures which must be taken by all employers for ensuring the safety of workers, attracting new talent and for maintaining a reputation in the market.
How to Buy?
While you take all the requisite measures for your workers’ safety, financial liability at the end of an accident or health issue will remain a burden and can even hamper your business activity. Buying group health and personal accident policies will make it easier and inexpensive way to take care of these liabilities.
Online insurance advisors like the award-winning insurance advisory portal SecureNow, offer multiple quotes and a simple process to avail the group policies with just a few clicks. Further, they can assist your claim processing and management of the policy too.
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