Workers’ Safety Management: In developing vs developed nations

In a profit making organization, around the globe, it is a prevalent norm that workers’ safety gets lower priority than most of other functionalities within it. In a country like Nepal this seems even more evident due to the lack of adequate government policies, laws, regulations, management, culture and eventually conscience of the employees to work safely.

The very mention of the word conscience could make many feel uncomfortable. I wonder what does it do to the government bodies or corporate management committees, if there is a soul behind them?

Strategies are usually top-down approach and they work greatly when basic infrastructures such as government policies, expert guidelines, implementing bodies, adequate rules, regulations, etc. are already in place. Providing such strategic framework makes the process of Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) implementation easier.

Developing nations lack adequate laws as well as awareness to shape the ground rules. In the mean time workers struggle for the basic rights, wages, working hours etc. In developing countries, the industries mostly neglect the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and try to make profit at the cost of environment and safety of workers.

Many developed nations on the other hand have already addressed most of the perquisites and are making great progress in this direction. Their OHS visions are more or less aligned with the overall CSR and business strategy. Thanks to their governments, they also have several OHS policies to guide them appropriately. Plenty of tools and measures for OHS program implementation, management and evaluation are available in the market as well as in the government affiliated bodies. 

Since no one can deny the fact that Occupational Health & Safety is a mammoth issue which involves many layers and offshoots around it, there can not be a one stop solution. Rather there must be a two-way traffic. With a top-down approach the government must come up with strong OHS policies, enforcement rules and regulating bodies whereas occupational safety awareness should be spread at the grass-roots level to help businesses build a lean, green and sustainable safety culture within their factories and organizations.

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