New Delhi, 1 March 2016
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) India and the CSI along with CII–ITC Centre of Excellence and Cement Manufacturers’ Association in India organized a seminar on “Safe in India 2016”, a multi-sectoral seminar with national and international participation aimed at creating a common understanding and a sense of urgency on issues around safety in India.Over 120 participants joined for an interactive dialogue on how companies can collaborate rather than compete on safety issues. Mr Joe Phelan, Director of WBCSD India inaugurated the discussion by emphasising that the starting point for any responsible business is safety. Key messages drawn from the deliberations covered:
- Safety as a key enabler of the “Make in India” story
- Top leadership commitment towards safety as a key performance metric will drive sustainable growth
- Addressing safety issues across the entire value chain of the business is the need of the hour
- Role of capacity building and technology, and working closely with contractors & transporters as business partners as key enablers for zero harm manufacturing
- Mr. Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment
- Dr. RK Elangovan, Deputy Director General, Directorate General Factory Advice Service & Labour Institutes (DG FASLI)
- Dr. MR Srinivasan, Ex-Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission of India
A core part of the discussion was to explore how participants could drive Mission Zero, an accident-free manufacturing agenda. Mr Mahendra Singhi, Group CEO and Whole Time Director, Dalmia Cement Bharat Ltd addressed the audience and stated that safety is a key ingredient of the recipe for happiness at our home, workplace or during our commute: “Top leadership commitment towards safety is a key performance metric that percolates to the rest of the organization. Safety should be a habit implemented in our everyday life, like wearing a seat belt while in the car.”
Mr Singhi added that partnering with sectoral bodies like CSI will bring new strategies on board, and that safety measures should be implemented at manufacturing plants as well as outside the plant.
Ms Seema Arora, Executive Director CII – ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development (CESD) continued with reference to Indian Union budget 2016-17, stating that government has allocated significant investments to the infrastructure sector: “CESD has always considered sustainability as an important agenda, and without safety, we cannot achieve sustainability. We cannot compromise on safety measures. Safety should not only be considered as an operational issue but should be considered as a board room issue. Cultural shift is important and is a creative aspect to implement change.”
Mr N A Viswanathan, Secretory General, CMA acknowledged that safety is a crucial aspect yet at times challenging. Check mechanism should be in place to measure fatigue in drivers, as many road accidents are caused by sleepiness: “If we take all the best possible safety measures into consideration, then only can India achieve world-class safety standards and create a knowledge-sharing platform for achieving zero harm for our workforce, contractors and communities.”
Mr Shankar Agarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment referred back to India’s situation in 1947 following independence, when it encountered many challenges and gradually overcame them. He mentioned that employment security, life security and social security are the most important forms of security to achieve access to a high standard of safety and education: “With the combination of technology, training and standard operating procedures in place, we can achieve the safety standards we desire and need. Safety standards should be made part of the rules – only then can we have a roadmap to establish our safe and secure industrial world in India.”
A panel on Leadership and Safety Culture shared with the audience about the role and importance of leaders to ensure safety standards are a part of core values at the workplace. Moderated by Mr Phillippe Fonta, Managing Director, CSI & Tires Industry Project (TIP), WBCSD, the conversation included Mr Vijay Iyer, MD - Rio Tinto India, Mr Samir Cairae, CEO - Diversified Metals (India) Vedanta, Mr Nabil Francis, MD – Zuari Cement Ltd and Mr MC Das, Executive Director & Chief HSE - ONGC Ltd.
The panel discussed whether production is a priority and safety is a value. The participants mentioned that special workforce training can help organizations reach their safety targets. Additionally, a sure-fire formula to ensure safety standards are implemented in the organization is to ensure it is a top priority for the senior management. Good leadership practice includes top management having had safety role experience, and implementing key performance metrics relating to safety.
Mr. Fonta shared, “Before I came to WBCSD, I was working on sustainability and safety projects within the aviation sector. One fact I find astonishing is that people still don’t take precautions and safety measures when they are driving, even when the statistics shows that the number of people who die in road accidents every day is almost equivalent to 8-9 jumbo jet crashes!”
Other topics covered include logistics safety and contractor safety management; sharing knowledge amongst companies and vendors on the importance of implementing adequate safety measures; a workshop session exploring how participants could drive Mission Zero, the accident-free manufacturing agenda. Companies were urged to conduct safety programs for their driver workforces, in order to minimise potential hazards, and to carry out stringent quality checks before a driver is ready to hit the road. The role of technology as an enabler to drive safety performance was emphasized throughout the discussion.
The seminar was concluded by a special address from Dr MR Srinivasan, one of the foremost renowned Indian nuclear scientists, who elaborated on safety in nuclear power plants and reiterated that “commitment to safety, health and environment is a core value.”
You can visit the event blog to access presentations and materials.