IndustriALL Global Union along with its affiliates in India has urged the government to take measures to improve occupational health and safety situation in the country. The demand was made by the union in an online press conference on Wednesday, Sanjay Vadhavkar, IndustriALL Executive Committee Member said in a release here. According to the release, in about 116 industrial accidents in chemical and mining industries across the country about 231 workers were killed between May 2020 to June 2021.
These statistics are merely indicative of the grave situation as they are based on a compilation of mainstream media reports and accidents reported by IndustriALL trade union affiliates. The real number of accidents and fatalities may be much higher, it added. A large number of workers have also died due to COVID-19, some of them contracting the infection at their workplaces, the release said. Speakers at the press conference highlighted that deployment of a large number of untrained precarious / contract workers, poor safety inspection system, weak implementation of safety protocol, among others have exacerbated the impact of the accidents.
Industrial accidents in India are a serious concern. However, they are highly under-reported and statistics revealed that their coverage also incomplete, IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Ozkan said. The government of India should form an expert commission to analyse the industrial accidents and identify the root causes and errors committed. The government and employers should bear their responsibility to protect the health of their workers and immediately address the safety crisis. The recently passed Occupational Health, Safety & Working Conditions Code, 2019 fall short of addressing the trade unions concerns, INTUC president Sanjeeva Reddy said.
The central and state governments should immediately strengthen safety inspection system, conduct an appropriate investigation, make the accident investigation reports public, hold a public consultation and involve trade unions in improving safety measures and protect workers’ lives at work, Vadhavkar added.