There is no denying the fact that industrial safety must be a key priority for any establishment, and this is something that even the government recognises and upholds quite seriously. The ILO estimates that some 2.3 million women and men around the world succumb to work-related accidents or diseases every year. This means over 6,000 deaths every single day! And, this is the human cost alone. Compounding this with losses in monetary terms really focuses on the grim outcomes of ignoring safety at the workplace. According to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, 3,562 workers died in factory accidents across India between 2014 and 2016, and more than 51,000 were injured in that same period. This works out to an average of three deaths and 47 injuries every single day. Worldwide, there are around 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses annually. Clearly, industrial safety is an undying mission and top priority for the best companies worldwide as well as in India.
The national theme declared by National Safety Council of India for the year 2020 is ‘Enhance Safety & Health Performance by Use of Advanced Technologies’. The theme emphasises on the need of adopting advanced technologies to continually improve safety and health performance. This theme is very much in-line with belief to promote and adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced technologies in every aspect of business. In general, industry’s quick response to implement the recently introduced Occupational Health & Safety Management System standard ISO 45001:2018 underscores eagerness to ensure ‘zero harm’ to its employees. As a logical continuation to this credo, Yamaha Motor India Group of Companies celebrates March month, as the ‘Safety Month’ with various safety promotional activities at workplace.
Participation and consultation of employees from all levels through a multi-tier Safety Committee Structure is very important in the manufacturing factories. These Safety Committee Structures helps to continually improve Safety Performances ensuring participation & consultation from employees at Gemba level. In my view since safety is enterprise-wide, there are two broad themes that should be thought of, the first theme is ‘Sensitising’ and to ‘Percolating safety’ straight from senior and middle management down to the Gemba employees. Gemba is a term which refers to the actual workplace. The second theme is the participation and consultation of Gemba Employees in safety activities.
At Yamaha India, the EHS objective currently is to ensure zero occupational injuries at the workplace in line with the company’s ongoing three-year objective of strengthening its safety management processes across all units in the country. Under this the company has transitioned from OHSAS 18001:2007 to ISO 45001:2018 in September 2019 and is now strengthening its upgraded management systems to conform to these changes in all its plants. It has also expanded its behaviour-based safety (BBS) program to include the managerial / supervisory level employees in addition to the top management which was done in the previous year. This program will be expanded to cover other employee assets in the coming years. Yamaha India is also strengthening safety in the workplace through its machine risk assessment initiative under the HIRA / KYA process. The last focus area for industrial safety adherence activity at Yamaha India is ‘UCAN’—unsafe, condition, act, near-miss.
In line with this year’s theme, we have already made a progress in this direction by improving environment within our factory premises by adopting latest and environment friendly technologies in our various manufacturing processes. For Example: -
In Painting: In order to reduce pollution hazards and health hazards arising due to regular and extravagant use of paint chemicals, Yamaha has combined the use of low-cost spray-painting system along with Electrostatic application and conventional spraying system. Such measures have helped to check repetitive use of hazardous chemicals.
In Welding: High speed welding robots with active wire process helps to control man hours by improving productivity and thus, greatly reduces the shift load further ultimately resulting in reduced exposure to hazards and mechanical processes.
In Casting: Conversion of diesel melting furnaces into natural gas melting furnaces have helped to improve the environment conditions within the factory that have helped Yamaha to drastically control pollutant elements and thus leading to reduction of health hazards.
Lastly, but by far not the least, we must understand that safety is not just a priority but a core value. Priorities may change with time, but values do not change, values guide one in case of any ambiguity. For industrial safety, this mantra can mean all the difference between success and failure.