British Safety Council establishes a ground-breaking forum in India for sharing best practice in health, safety and wellbeing

Posted On: 
29th November 2018

Yesterday, the British Safety Council, one of the most trusted international leaders in health, safety and environmental management, launched the India Safety Leadership Group, a forum for its members in India to share best practice and expertise in health, safety and wellbeing and lead broader change across all sectors

For over 60 years, the British Safety Council has been campaigning to protect workers and improve workplace conditions and practices, both in Britain and worldwide. In India, where around 80% of the estimated 465 million-strong workforce are not protected by the existing health and safety legal framework, the British Safety Council aims to raise awareness of the importance of managing health and safety risks in the workplace. It will also challenge traditional views and approaches, as well as supporting employers in adopting practices which better safeguard the health and safety of their workers.

The British Safety Council has been supporting the Indian market for over 30 years, providing health, safety and environmental consultancy services, training and audits from its UK office in London. In November 2017, the organisation opened an office in Mumbai to offer a greater range of products (audit, training, e-learning, qualifications and membership) tailored to the needs of the Indian market. The office is also a base from which the British Safety Council will start campaigning and progressing its charitable work in India.

Opening the first meeting of the India Safety Leadership Group, Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, said: “India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, making great progress in all areas, including health and safety. Yet, there is still much to be done. Overall, workplace deaths in India are 20 times higher than in the UK: it is estimated that there are 48,000 work-related deaths in India each year, while there were 144 workplace fatalities in Britain in 2017.

“The British Safety Council aims to bring about a culture change with regard to workplace health, safety and wellbeing. Although legislation is very important in helping to bring about this change, factors such as leadership are essential for introducing and embedding it. We should also start preparing for the changes to the global labour market. The World Bank predicts that 69 per cent of jobs in India will be threatened by automation or artificial intelligence over the next 20 years. Moreover, the population in India aged over 65 will double over next 30 years. Working together through the platforms like the India Safety Leadership Group, we can start to prepare for the times ahead.

“The Indian Safety Leadership Group will also be reviewing health and safety legislation and regulatory matters, such as the new international standard ISO 45001, which is expected to replace up to 24 national health and safety standards, including OHSAS 18001. It is considered the most important health and safety management standard ever developed. The British Safety Council is running workshops, webinars and providing training to internal auditors, as well as consultancy support, including a ‘gap analysis’ tool, to help its members adopt or transition to the new standard. The Leadership Group will be an important consultation platform to ensure that such products meet the needs and requirements of the Indian market.”

Dr. Sanjai Kumar Srivastva, Head of EHS, Larsen & Toubro Construction, said: “The construction industry is the least organised and the most hazardous sector in India, where health, safety and environmental management is not considered as a priority. With the India Leadership Group, the British Safety Council has given us the forum to discuss the benchmark practices among the industry’s senior professionals. These leadership meetings will take health and safety in India to the next level.”

Rajani Singh, Senior Manager – HSE, Sterling & Wilson, commented: “With today’s leadership meeting, the British Safety Council has provided us with the platform to discuss policies and exchange ideas. The case study presented by Dr. Sanjai Kumar Srivastva, EHS Head from L&T Construction, on the Five-Star Health and Safety Audit gave us an excellent insight into the benefits and process of the audit which will inform our work in the future.”

The British Safety Council already works with over 100 companies in India, many of whom are on the India Fortune 500 list. Among its members are: Indian Oil, Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai International Airport, Reliance Industries and Tata. Many leading Indian businesses take part in the British Safety Council’s International Safety Awards and the Sword/Globe of Honour awards and send delegates to the British Safety Council’s training courses in London.