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How is National Safety Day 2021 looking at Employee Safety?

How is National Safety Day 2021 looking at Employee Safety and workplace safety | Qdesq

What is National Safety Day?

To make workplaces safer, there is a need to create awareness about hazardous work environments and train the employees on equipment handling. The National Safety Council of India (NSC) was founded on 4 March, 1966 with the primary focus to develop and sustain a movement on Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) throughout the nation.

NSC’s foundation day was decided to be observed as National Safety Day in 1972. The National Safety Day movement is a discipline and specialty that studies and implements practical aspects of environmental protection and safety at work. 

The National Safety Week (NSW) is a week-long campaign from 4th to 11th March which is aimed at renewing the commitment of employees and the general public to work safely throughout the year. The ultimate objective of the campaign is to ensure integration of occupational safety and health (OSH) in work culture and lifestyle. But, the fundamental purpose of this workplace policy on SHE is not only to eliminate the incidence of work related fatalities, disaster and loss of national assets, but also to enhance the well-being of the employee and society at large.

Summarizing the general objectives of National Safety Day highlighting the overall goal of creating and strengthening SHE culture in the workplace and integrating it with the work culture.

  • To spread Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) movement to various parts of the country
  • To promote several developmental activities required for self-compliance and professional SHE management systems at workplaces
  • To motivate and remind employers, employees, and others of their responsibility in making the workplace safer
  • To ensure that safety and health are integrated into work culture and lifestyle
  • To renew the commitment of the employees towards safety and health at the workplace
  • To achieve greater participation of the employees in OSH activities

Safety Challenge of 2021

In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, while many organizations are moving to remote work, some companies still require workers to be on-premise. Employers who want to bring their staff back to work are being more thoughtful about disinfecting desks and all the high-traffic areas and touch points such as door handles, light switches, elevator buttons, lobbies, bathrooms, break rooms, and shared offices, making sanitizers available, conference room scheduling, monitoring and improving air quality and ventilation systems, improving overall cleaning procedures and providing touch-free amenities wherever possible. 

Apart from this, one important dimension of ensuring employee safety is to make social-distancing simple. This is possible by de-densifying the workplaces- moving small teams to work away from the company headquarters. With co-working satellite offices spread across multiple locations, the teams can be easily decentralized without much hassle of the commute. In fact, by working from offices near home, the employees also enjoy the best of both the worlds. 

Since companies, in order to practice social distancing in the wake of the pandemic, might have to station some employees in different locations. This demands agility and flexibility in their real estate portfolios. Also, larger enterprises are seeking smaller spaces to ensure synergised business continuity in the near future.

Many companies are considering the option of leasing smaller space to ensure not just basic cleanliness and hygiene as per new sanitization standards, but also physical distancing compared to open spaces, implying better safety. Co-working spaces provide this advantage besides offering the flexibility to expand or downsize anytime based on need.  

‘Smart’ is the new ‘Safe’

Some smart office technology solutions that can make the workplace safer and healthier are:

  • UV-C light connected to an automated IoT platform can result in a robust and customizable sanitization system that can be run in unoccupied spaces during off hours. 
  • Automatic door openers and door locks enable a safer and more secure office building, and they also allow for keyless, contact-free entrances and exits. 
  • To prevent areas from becoming dangerously overcrowded, leaders and managers can use occupancy sensors and people counting devices to maintain and monitor appropriate occupancy and traffic levels. 
  • Installation of antimicrobial hardware throughout. Door handles, push/pull locks, emergency exit devices and more are now available with a silver ion coating that can help slow the spread of bacteria and viruses.
  • Digital credentials and cloud-based systems to replace cards and physical badges Using elevators in batches especially in multi-tenant offices to ensure social distancing. Plus touchless technology for elevator buttons with a single security guard.
  • Eliminating porous surfaces and fabrics throughout the premises as lobby chairs, carpets, and wall tapestries can harbor virus particles for up to a week without sanitization.

Co-working Ensures Workplace Safety

As the world of work is continuously evolving, co-working spaces provide all the necessary infrastructural and technological support to businesses for a safe and healthy work experience. With co-working on the rise, it’s easier than ever for workplaces to implement smart design and adopt the latest technology to ensure health and safety of workers. Agile offices, naturally, better meet the needs of an evolving workforce. Flexible workspaces, therefore, are a practical choice as companies rise up to face the new normal and by meeting the objective of de-densification

The current and predicted market trajectory shows an exponential growth in preference for flexible co-working spaces and crafted office facilities with community support, collaboration, and knowledge engagement, offered by shared spaces. In the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, not only the startups, but SMEs and giant players will also be preferring co-working spaces in the near-term, to ensure agility and flexibility, backed up with a sense of community.

The Government of India is committed to review the National Policy on Safety, Health and Environment at workplace and legislations through tripartite consultation, improve enforcement, compilation and analysis of statistics; develop special programmes for hazardous operations and other focus sectors, set up training mechanisms, create nationwide awareness, arrange for the mobilisation of available resources and expertise.

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