Tag Archives: OHS

General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT): Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) related legal provisions in Nepal

workers
(Photo Source: Google)

Established in 1989, the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT), with 27 affiliated union-members nationwide, works as an umbrella organization for various trade unions in the field of agriculture, industry and service sectors.

In 2007, with an effort to examine the issues of occupational safety and health through social dialogues with industrial stakeholders in the country, GEFONT published its results of surveyed data and focus group discussions conducted in 159 enterprises. Demands for safe drinking water, clean toilet facilities and protective safety equipment were at the top of the list. This is unfortunate in the sense that the Nepalese workers are still struggling with their basic labor rights, but at the same time the current conditions clearly reveal the stark reality of the country’s state of OHS, lingering at its primitive stage.   

In the same document, GEFONT also provided a list of OHS related legal provisions to be followed by the management of concerned organizations. Although the legal provisions are far from adequacy and they do not include any specific benchmark or standards, it provided a general framework and guideline for enterprises to maintain a clean, safe and healthy work environment.

Following are the legal provisions and their corresponding Labor Act 1992, relating to occupational health and safety of employees or workers, to be managed by the enterprises in Nepal.

  1. Make arrangements for clean and tidy enterprise: Chapter V; Section 27 (a)
  • Daily cleaning with germicidal medicines,
  • Proper drainage,
  • Occasional painting or white-washing,
  • Prevention of bad odor

 

  1. Make arrangements for: Chapter V; Section 27 (b)
  • Adequate supply of fresh air,
  • Adequate light,
  • Proper temperature

 

  1. Make arrangement for: Chapter V; Section 27 (c)
  • Removal and disposal of solid waste,
  • Drainage of sewage from production process

 

  1. Make arrangement for: Chapter V; Section 27 (d)
  • Prevention of accumulation of dust, fume, vapor and other impure materials affecting health adversely

 

  1. Make arrangement for: Chapter V; Section 27 (e)
  • Personal protection devices against noise pollution,
  • Provision for noise reduction

 

  1. Make arrangement for: Chapter V; Section 27 (f)
  • Avoiding workplace congestion,
  • Working space – 15 Cubic Meter/Employee (Max height considered = 4 Meters)

 

  1. Make arrangement for: Chapter V; Section 27 (g)
  • Supply of potable water, sufficient water near chemical substances used,
  • Water for emergency purposes, such as fire extinguishing, washing or cleaning

 

  1. Make arrangements for: Chapter V; Section 27 (h)
  • Separate modern toilets for male and female at convenient places

 

  1. Make arrangements for: Chapter V; Section 27 (i)
  • Declaring non-smoking zones; partly or entirely

 

  1. Make arrangements for: Chapter V; Section 27 (j)
  • Conducting yearly health check-ups for workers and employees in enterprises where nature of work is likely to affect the health adversely

 

  1. Make arrangements for: Chapter V; Section 28
  • Eye protection of employees and workers from possible injuries

 

  1. Make arrangements for: Chapter V; Section 30

 

  1. Make arrangements for: Chapter V; Section 31
  • Strong fences around energy-operated hazardous machines, instruments and equipment,
  • Well-trained employees or workers for maintenance jobs on such machines

 

  1. Make arrangements for: Chapter V; Section 32

 

NOTE: The New Labour Act, 2074 (2017 AD): Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) related provisions

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Nepal National Building Code (NBC: 1994): Construction Safety and Fire Safety related provisions for Workers’ Health & Safety

Construction Safety Legal Provisions Relating to Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) within construction businesses in Nepal

Fire Safety Legal Provisions Relating to Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) in Nepal

Also Read:

(Part II) (2 of 2) Construction Focus Four: Struck-By Hazards

(Part II) (1 of 2) Construction Focus Four: Struck-By Hazards

(Part I) (1 of 2) Construction Focus Four: Fall Hazards

(Part I) (2 of 2) Construction Focus Four: Fall Hazards

Fire Prevention and Fire Protection – Air Pollution in Kathmandu – Construction PPE – Carbon Monoxide poisoning – Electrical Safety – Fall Protection in General Industry– Fearsome 4 of Construction Safety – Fall Restrain System Vs. Fall Arrest System – Respiratory Protection – Portable Ladder Safety – Confined Space Entry – Initiating First Aid/CPR – Are you too busy… – If you have $86,400 in your account… – Safety professionals have job prospects as Insurance Risk Surveyor or Loss Assessor

 

Fire Safety Legal Provisions Relating to Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) in Nepal

Pass-fire-extinguisher

Types-of-extinguisher(Photo Source: Google)

Fire Safety related OHS (Occupational Health & Safety) legal provisions provided by the Labor Act 1992 and Labor Rules 1993 are given below in tabular form.

As prescribed by the above, the enterprises in Nepal are legally bound to make following OHS arrangements for the health and safety of their employees or workers.

Fire Safety Legal

NOTE: The New Labour Act, 2074 (2017 AD): Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) related provisions

Also Read:

(22 August 2018) When A Fire Broke Out at the 12th Floor of a 16 Story Residential Building in Mumbai

Load Carrying Legal Provisions relating to OHS 

Machinery, Tools or Equipment Handling Legal Provisions relating to OHS

Accident/Disease Notification & Accident Investigation Legal Provisions relating to OHS 

Construction Safety Legal Provisions relating to OHS

Nepal National Building Code (NBC: 1994): Construction Safety and Fire Safety related provisions for Workers’ Health & Safety

Construction Industry: Fatal (Focus-Four) Hazards

Fire Prevention and Fire Protection – Air Pollution in Kathmandu – Construction PPE – Carbon Monoxide poisoning – Electrical Safety – Fall Protection in General Industry– Fearsome 4 of Construction Safety – Fall Restrain System Vs. Fall Arrest System – Respiratory Protection – Portable Ladder Safety – Confined Space Entry – Initiating First Aid/CPR – Are you too busy… – If you have $86,400 in your account… – Safety professionals have job prospects as Insurance Risk Surveyor or Loss Assessor

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Rana Plaza tragedy, Bangladesh: Safety revisited after one year

The sandwich collapse of Rana Plaza garment factory complex in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh on 24 April 2013, marks its one year anniversary with commemoration and protest for compensation and safer working condition for the workers. The deadliest industrial accident in the history of Bangladesh claimed 1,138 lives and yet more than 2,000 were left seriously injured or disabled.

After one year, people have disappointments since the culprits have not been punished and victims have not been compensated enough. It is claimed but hard to imagine that many people are still missing inside the rubble. Besides initial compensations from the government and few social organizations, legal compensation packages are yet to be made official. International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates some $40 million needed to compensate the families and disabled garment workers. The Bangladesh government together with the ILO have established a relief fund for the same.

Although many would call this accident a wakeup call, some critics would like to differ. These kind of accidents had happened in Bangladesh in the past but probably they were not destructive and loud enough to register as a wakeup call for the government or the concerned authorities. Most importantly, the disaster could have been predicted and prevented if they had adequate safety measures in place.

Better late than never, the Rana Plaza debacle brought about massive movements for similar industries to sign up for the Bangladesh fire and building safety accord. Although government safety inspections are already underway, the initial reports are not looking satisfactory. There are lots of fire and building safety issues which still need to be addressed to comply with the accord. Government should be able to set up strong measures to enforce new regulations and remediation.

Meanwhile, there are evidence of positive change in safety culture as both management and workers are taking safety seriously and raising concerns over building safety and fire safety issues. As the safety culture needs preservation, fostering and encouragement from all the sectors including the Bangladesh government, garment industries, workers on the floor, top foreign retailers as well as the consumers on the other side of the globe, this might be a long journey before any significant change will be noticed on the front of safety culture.

Currently, there are about 30 foreign retail brands which are supplied by more than 5,000 garment factories in Bangladesh. It is sad to see that only half of the retailer brands have come forward to compensate the family and the injured workers. The other half probably want cheap clothes at the expense of safe working condition and wellbeing of the workers in Bangladesh. 

This could be a good example of 21st century slavery where labors in developing countries are enslaved by affluent business society. The end consumers need to wake up and see the tragedy of the labor behind the label and boycott those brands which are so indifferent and irresponsible towards their own workers.

On one hand Bangladesh has this immense need to address its existing safety issues such as fire and building safety accord while on the other it has the challenges to restore confidence of the retailers. Although the structural flaws of the buildings and the proactive safety measures will definitely take some time to be implemented, Bangladesh cannot afford to lose its retailers by not meeting these basic safety requirements just now.

The country needs to move fast if it wants to restore the business in this world where business ethics, brand identities and consumer awareness are rapidly becoming the competitive grounds for the growth of any organization. Further delaying and not meeting the safety standards might signal the international market to diversify to other places such as Nepal, Myanmar etc. We hope that the garments made in Bangladesh will present a symbol of standards and not of workers’ exploitation.

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