Category Archives: Disaster Resilience

Government dispute with the Sherpas

Deepest condolence to the friends and families who lost their loved ones in the tragic avalanche on Mount Everest this April, 2014. It is consoling to know though, few of the initial compensation demands have been met by the government. The foresight of the government and the relevant management bodies would have made this aftermath transition a lot easier as far as the insurance agreements and the provision of adequate compensation amounts are concerned. Although the probability of these kind of incidents happening in the near future can be predicted low, the consequences could be life threatening or fatal as we can see.

The government of Nepal should strategically plan to spend a good chunk of revenue generated from the Mount Everest to the safety, well being, education and development of the entire chain of communities supporting the mission in this region. Along with providing with proactive safety measures, the government should also equip the Sherpa guides with adequate insurance compensation package, pension, relief funds etc., considering the high level of risks involved in the job. The Mt. Everest expedition also demands a robust emergency preparedness and response planning to prepare for such disasters in the future.

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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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