Occupational safety and health expert and director of HSE Consultant, Yoosoof Jauhanger, wants the Occupational Safety & Health Amendment Act, 2022 to be enacted as soon as possible.

How do you assess the health and safety situation in companies?
The situation continues to improve day by day. A growing number of young people have joined the profession of Health & Safety Officer. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health inspectorate has been strengthened, which allows a greater number of inspectors to make regular visits to companies to ensure compliance with the legislation. This explains a drastic drop in the number of serious and fatal accidents on work sites. That said, we are impatiently awaiting the promulgation of the Occupational Safety & Health Amendment Act of 2022. I would also like to see the establishment of a Health & Safety Council which will greatly help to upgrade the profession of Health & Safety Officer.

Tell us about the amendments that were made to the Occupational Safety & Health Act.
These amendments will bring major changes to the management of health and safety in the world of work. First, the fine for non-compliance with safety and health standards increases from Rs 75,000 to Rs 150,000. The employer also has the obligation to report any serious accident to the Ministry of Labor. This was not the case until now, because the injured person was transported directly to a clinic. In addition, the list of serious accidents has been extended and includes, among other things, small fractures. It is also interesting to note that any employer who employs more than five people must set up a Health & Safety Committee.

Why do some employers ignore health and safety regulations?
Some do it due to lack of knowledge and they are punished, because ignorance of the law is not an excuse. It is also the case that others do not find the need to employ a Health & Safety Officer to guide them in the area of ​​health and safety and they are also sanctioned. Furthermore, often out of overzealousness, middle management executives force their subordinates to work in conditions that represent a risk for their health and safety and it is the employer who, ultimately, will pay the price.

With the scale of Work from home, there is also a health and safety problem. What do you think ?
The big question is how to implement health and safety for employees who telework. For this, I think that all parties concerned, in particular the authorities, employers, health and safety professionals and employee representatives, must come together around a table to discuss the issue in order to find solutions. solutions. At the same time, it may also be necessary to study the impacts of artificial intelligence on human health.

What about small and medium-sized businesses?
Unfortunately, with their limited financial resources, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs cannot recruit a Health & Safety Officer within their companies. Hence my appeal to the Minister of Finance to include provisions in his next Budget to help them implement security standards within their businesses. We must not forget that SMEs are major job providers in the country. We must therefore grant them all the facilities so that they can have the services of professionals to undertake a risk assessment in their businesses. I also appeal to the authorities so that schools have a financial fund to enable them to put in place safety standards, including emergency staircases.

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