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Health and safety of workers require urgent attention in India

How is the health and safety of workers considered in India? Girish Shankar, IAS, Secretary – Ministry of Heavy Industries & Pawan Agarwal, IAS, CEO-FSSAI reinforce the need for Hygiene & Safety for India’s Industrial Workforce at a roundtable organized by Lindstrom India.

Supported by the Embassy of Finland, thought leaders across sectors came together in March. The purpose to highlight the need for governance on safety measures for workers. Secondly, ideate and share ways to achieve them.

Gathering industry leaders

The event was organized with the aim of building awareness and sensitivity towards the key drivers for this mission. The target audience is the workforce that works endlessly across sectors.  The event brought together Industry stalwarts like Mr. Girish Shankar, Secretary – Ministry of Heavy Industries (Govt. of India), Mr. Pawan Agarwal, CEO – FSSAI, Mr. Akhil Jha, Chief Technical Officer, Shell India, Mr. Bhupinder Singh, CEO, Vista Food, Mr Akash Rathore, Director – Commercial Pirelli India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka, G. Pawan Kumar, MD, Sprint Exports and Chief Executive, Vizag Seafood Exporters Association.

Mr Pawan Agarwal and Mr Girish Shankar highlight the government’s initiatives to regulate and monitor the welfare of employees. Furthermore, they provided perspective on the current scenario in the industry.

Health and safety of workers in the food industry

Shedding light on the subject specifically in the food industry, Mr Pawan Agarwal, IAS, CEO – FSSAI said, “Considering the health and safety of workers in India’s food production, a lot is required to be done to improve hygiene standards. Very few places have high standards of hygiene. We have to go a long way and this is not discussed as widely as it should be. This is the first time that an event has been organised which specifically focuses on hygiene and safety. FSSAI is launching a series of initiatives to touch the lives of all citizens at all times. We are calling them initiatives around life and nutrition food. The first initiative is around safe and nutritious food at home. Second is safe and nutritious food at school. The third which is relevant here is safe and nutritious food at the workplace. Finally, safe and nutritious food when we eat out.” Mr. Pawan Agarwal also appreciated the efforts of Lindstrom in this direction.

Ways of implementing hygiene and safety in the workplace

Speaking at the roundtable, Mr Girish Shankar, IAS, Secretary – Ministry of Heavy Industries (Govt. of India) said, “The legal framework has been provided to ensure the hygiene and safety for the workforce. Implementation, however, is the biggest question and in this, the industry has to come forward. If we think from the business point of view, it makes business sense to ensure safety and hygiene to the workers and all its stakeholders. It reduces healthcare costs substantially.”

Mr. Girish Shankar also commended the endeavour of Lindstrom in bringing this topic of workwear to the forefront. He also hoped that the management teams across industries would work towards bringing in due focus in this area.

Anupam Chakrabarty, Managing Director, Lindstrom India said, “As India’s only organized workwear company, the safety and hygiene of our industrial workforce is very close to our hearts at Lindstrom. With Prime Minister Modi’s Make in India initiative, we believe this is an issue that needs urgent attention across sectors. We hope that with the diverse perspectives shared on this platform today, more and more industry leaders will continue to generate awareness about the issue. This way, we make India a safe and hygienic manufacturing hub for the world.”

Outsourcing as a way to improve workers’ wellbeing

Among the other notable speakers from the Food Industry, the CEO of Vista Food, an OSI Group Company as well as MD of Sprint Exports also highlighted the importance of proper hygiene and outsourcing of non-core activities and the efforts of Lindstrom in that direction.

“Lindstrom has given a different direction and dimension to the food processing industry. They highlight how hygiene, health and safety for workers is to be looked at as far as the workwear of our employees are concerned” shared Mr. G. Pawan Kumar, MD, Sprint Exports and Chief Executive, Vizag Seafood Exporters Association

Supporting a society at the grassroot level

“Lindstrom made our life easy as we can now concentrate in our core business activities. Lindstrom is an expert in understanding the textile and garment suitable for specific industries in order to enhance the safety of the workforce and workplace and at the same time ensuring high levels of hygiene.” said Mr. Bhupinder Singh, CEO, Vista Food

The Ambassador of Finland to India, Ms. Nina Vaskunlahti, gave the session a global perspective. She highlight best practises in hygiene and safety from Finland. Mr. Francis Odhimabo, UNICEF Wash Specialist shared his experience on how Lindstrom and UNICEF are working together. At the grassroot level they support the activity of advocating importance of building awareness about hygiene, cleanliness and safety right from childhood. That goes a long way in building that culture in any country.

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