Workplace Safety in India – Mike Robinson Global CEO, British Safety Council

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As a global organization focused on workplace safety, what are some key differences or challenges you have observed in promoting safety standards in India compared to other regions?

In India, the challenges we encounter tend to be the diverse and varying levels of awareness and compliance with safety standards, and infrastructure limitations in some regions. There is an increasing amount of focus in leadership to improve occupational health, safety and wellbeing leading to a culture of safety.

How does the British Safety Council tailor its resources and support services to address the specific regulatory framework and cultural factors influencing workplace safety in India?

We adapt our approach by considering the specific regulatory requirements, cultural nuances, and industry practices in India. We offer training programs, consultancy services, and guidance materials that align with Indian safety regulations and address the unique challenges faced by businesses operating in the country.

Can you share some examples of successful collaborations or initiatives the British Safety Council has undertaken with Indian businesses or governmental organizations to improve workplace safety practices?

We have collaborated with organisations in varied industries such as construction, chemicals, manufacturing, pharma, power, oil and gas and many more on various initiatives, including conducting safety audits and culture consultancies, developing training programmes based on their needs, and promoting best practices through awards and recognition schemes.

India has a diverse workforce with varying levels of education and awareness regarding safety standards. How does the British Safety Council approach education and training programs to ensure they are accessible and effective for all segments of the Indian workforce?

We design education and training programmes that are accessible and effective for all segments of the Indian workforce. This includes providing user-friendly materials, leveraging digital platforms for remote learning, and offering practical, hands-on training sessions. What makes us impactful is our competency mapping systems, we consult with organisations to understand their training needs and challenges. This helps us get to know what are the current and expected competencies of the workforce, which in turn helps us bridge the gap.

Given the rapid industrialization and technological advancements in India, how does the British Safety Council stay ahead of emerging risks and incorporate innovative solutions into its approach to workplace safety?

We actively monitor industrial trends and technological advancements in India to anticipate emerging risks. Our approach involves engaging with industry experts, conducting research, and collaborating with stakeholders to develop solutions and best practices for managing new safety challenges.

Workplace mental health and well-being are gaining recognition as critical aspects of safety. How does the British Safety Council support Indian companies in addressing mental health concerns and fostering a supportive work environment?

Wellbeing is a key area of focus for us. We work with organisations on two main levels; strategy and implementation. We help them to see the impact wellbeing initiatives can have on business goals and take a data-driven approach on how to implement an effective wellbeing strategy. We recognise the importance of mental health in the workplace and support Indian companies through training programmes, resources, and consultancy services focused on mental health awareness, stress management, and fostering a supportive work environment.

What role do certifications and accreditations play in enhancing workplace safety standards in India, and how does the British Safety Council assist organizations in obtaining and maintaining these certifications?

Certifications and accreditations play a crucial role in enhancing workplace safety standards by providing a framework for compliance and continuous improvement. We assist organisations in obtaining and maintaining certifications such as ISO 45001, ensuring they meet internationally recognised safety standards. However, while ISO standards are a fantastic starting point for organisations’ journey in safety, our Five Star Safety and Wellbeing journey drives our clients to achieve global “best of best” standards.

Can you provide insights into any specific trends or areas of focus in workplace safety that are particularly relevant or pressing in the Indian context, and how the British Safety Council is addressing them?

In the Indian context, emerging trends include the adoption of technology for safety monitoring and management, the importance of addressing ergonomic risks in diverse work environments, and the integration of sustainability principles into safety practices. We address these trends through tailored training, consultancy, and advocacy efforts.

How does the British Safety Council engage with Indian policymakers and regulatory bodies to advocate for stronger safety regulations and enforcement mechanisms?

British Safety Council operates as a not-for-profit membership organization. That said, we do not engage in advocacy activities with the Government or policymakers.

Finally, what advice would you give to Indian organizations seeking to improve their workplace safety standards, based on the experience and expertise of the British Safety Council?

Organisations can improve their workplace safety standards by prioritising a culture of safety from top management to frontline workers, investing in comprehensive training and education programmes, regularly auditing and evaluating safety practices, fostering open communication channels for reporting hazards and incidents, and actively participating in industry collaborations and initiatives.