Awareness of OHS stressed for grill and steel fabrication workers

24 March/Kathmandu

Federation of Grill and Steel Fabricators Nepal (FGSFN) has pledged to implement occupational health and safety (OHS) measures in grill and steel fabrication industries in Nepal.

The 21-point pledge was made during an awareness programme organized on 24 March 2019 in Kathmandu.

According to the FGSFN, there are currently 11,000 grill and steel workshops operational in the country where 160,000 are getting employment. It added that each year eight workers die while around 1200 are injured in the workplace due to the accidents.

Speaking in the opening session, President of the FGSGN Mohan Katuwal stressed the need for grill and steel enterprises to gain knowledge on OHS and ensure the safety of workers and highlighted its contribution in productivity of each workshop.

Team leader of ENSSURE project Subas Subedi shared some of his OHS-related hazardous experiences leading to life-threatening situations and highlighted the need for OHS awareness in any sector and occupation.

Following the opening session, Mr Yub Raj Bhatt from the Complete Environment Management Solutions who is an expert agency in OHS and partner of ENSSURE project presented the concept and a video shot in Jhapa that highlighted OHS intervention in a workshop that enhanced workshop’s productivity. He remarked that the OHS expenses as meagre one, waiving which could have expensive consequences.

Dr Sunil Kumar Joshi, OHS expert presented the findings of an assessment carried out in Kathmandu in grill and steel industries. The assessment showed that around 79.3% of workers have education up to grade 8 where most workers are the youngsters. The most common form of injuries that coexists in the sector was that of burn and cut injuries due to grinding, welding and hammering. He added that in Nepal, there are around 160,000 accidents in workplaces and 50,000 of those are a life-threatening one.

During his annotation, Dr Bharat Kumar Pokharel, Country Director of Helvetas Nepal expressed his commitment to OHS and informed that Helvetas through training providing institutions has been implementing good OHS practices in 105 occupations.

Likewise, Dr Hari Pradhan, a TVET expert said that CTEVT should internalize OHS and make sure that the workers and trainees use applicable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as helmet and gloves.

Mr Barun Kumar Jha from Vocational Skills Development and Training Centre (VSDTC) said that there is no occupation in the world free of occupational hazards; safety is an integral part of life and that it starts from home. He focused on building infrastructure that supports OHS, and more importantly, changes attitude. He also informed that the OHS policy is at the final stage of approval.

Addressing the attendees, Dr Usha Bhandari from SDC congratulated the FSGFN for pioneering OHS interventions while highlighting the importance of prevention, protection and rehabilitation for OHS implementation.

Closing the programme, Mr Tek Bahadur Malla, Director of CTEVT and Project Manager of ENSSURE Project highlighted every individual’s role in making people aware of OHS. He reminded that the fact that negligence leads to an accident so one needs to be aware. He highlighted the need for workplace management and expressed his commitment to work together with the Federation in the issue. 

There was participation of executive members of the Federation’s central committee, its 2 regional chapters, 14 units and Kathmandu district chapter; Vocational Skills Development and Training Center (VSDTC) Bhaisepati, Journalists, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), CTEVT, TVET expert, Helvetas Nepal, approximately 100 attended the event. The event was supported by ENSSURE Project.