Importance of National Safety Week keeping in mind the safety at the workplace

1When safety is neglected workplaces become prone to different hazards. This is why the National Safety Council launched the first National Safety Day campaign in 1972, and 47 years later the campaign is a major event celebrated by industry, trade unions, government departments, regulatory agencies, NGOs, and institutions. National Safety Week (NSW) is also actively supported by Central and State Governments and the media.

Objectives of National Safety Week

As Indian workplaces grow more sophisticated and their reliance on machinery and chemicals to produce goods increases, workplace hazards also go up. The frenzy of construction across India demands those employed operating heavy machinery and working at heights at construction sites be equipped with suitable safety equipment. To make workplaces safer there is a need to create awareness about hazardous work environments and to share information about equipment and training that allow work in hazardous environments to be performed safely.

The National Safety Council understands the importance of safety in the workplace. This understanding led it to establish 4th of March 1972 as National Safety Day. Since then National Safety Day has grown into a week-long event during which the National Safety Council ensures safety and health are integrated into the work culture and lifestyle of Indian companies. National Safety Week is also a time to help employees renew their commitment towards safety and health at the workplace and a time to facilitate participation by employees in Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) activities.

Approach to Celebrating National Safety Week

Efforts to create safer workplaces are ongoing and never static. This is because new safety technologies and techniques allowing work to be done more safely are developed continuously. Often new technology used in workplaces also creates new hazards which must be safeguarded against using new equipment and by undergoing training. Because new varieties of safety equipment are regularly manufactured and new and better training is created, National Safety Week is celebrated every year to allow workers and employers to remain abreast of new developments.

During National Safety Week, to create awareness of new technologies and to familiarize workers with the importance of safety, participation by maximum number of workers in safety awareness exercises is encouraged. Safety awareness permeates a workplace when the local talent in workplaces are selected to spread awareness about the importance of safety. Local talent should also be selected to participate in exercises to raise awareness about safety. Employers can make workplaces safer by stressing the OSH needs of employees. Creating awareness of OSH among employees also demands helping workers identify specific local hazards that can cause injury.

Activities during National Safety Week

The celebrations behind National Safety Week are engaging and lively and begin with a Safety and Health Pledge in which employees are led by the most senior executive of a company. After the pledge is completed the National and Safety Week flag is unfurled and employees pin the National Safety Week badge on their shirts. To remind workers they are celebrating National Safety Week, safety day banners are displayed at strategic locations throughout their workplace. The Chief Executive Officer or Managing Director of a company also gives a message related to workplace safety to employees.

Because safety week celebrations are meant to create awareness of safety and excitement about the importance of safety, employees are encouraged to participate in safety competitions. Such competitions include essay writing about safety, drafting slogans relevant to safety, creating safety posters, and enacting performances related to safety. During National Safety Week, suggestions and schemes related to safety from employees are also welcomed. Safety exhibitions are also held during National Safety Week and films related to safety are screened in colonies where employees live. Employees also participate in emergency drills and thereby learn how to handle real emergencies. Meetings are held during which past workplace accidents are analysed and suggestions from employees about how future accidents can be prevented are heard.

Like the safety industry, activities during National Safety Week are dynamic and attempt to improve safety across workplaces. A safe workplace is one where workers are equipped with the right safety equipment and are trained to use such equipment. However new workplace hazards and new technologies that make workplaces safer are reasons to celebrate National Safety Week every year. During National Safety Week, safety enters the collective conscious of workers allowing them to internalise the importance of safety. The celebrations must be held every year to ingrain in workers principles of workplace safety and to allow them to remain vigilant of possible workplace hazards.   

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