The Thimphu referral hospital (JDWNRH) recorded 11,336 work-related injuries and three deaths. A total of 89 work-related accidents were reported, of which 62 workers were partially disabled, and two disabled for life.
As reflected in an annual health bulletin till 2011 there were 28,000 accident cases while this year there were 18 fatal cases. The stats are not comprehensive since most of the cases are unreported.
Records with the labor department show that since 2006, after the occupational health and safety (OHS) regulations were framed, about 85 workers were compensated in death and disabled cases. This is also by nature provisioned in the Labor and Employment Act which authorizes all employers to insure their employees against injury and death.
In this light of matters, the ministry has made concerted efforts to induce the practice of safety measures in manufacturing industries. The response from the industries has however been lukewarm thus far.
Labor minister Dorji Wangdi said the nation has a 336,391 strong labor force and it’s the ministry’s duty to provide or ensure their safety. The labor ministry (MoLHR) therefore framed the national OHS policy and it will be regulated by the 11th Five Year Plan.
Before the policy goes for implementation the ministry is presently geared to set an OHS committee at the entrepreneur level.
For that the labor ministry will send 20 participants from different manufacturing industries and one official from Department of Labor (DoL) as the coordinator to train the group on OHS.
The labor minister said this training will make those 20 participants the focal persons for OHS and make the working environment safe and harmonious.
Coordinated by the ministry the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) has provided basic courses on OHS annually to more than 500 participants so far.
The working atmosphere not entirely free of risks for injuries or even deaths in the manufacturing industries, the OHS is like the guardian of the workers’ lives and limb. The ministry has therefore placed high priority on OHS and conducted training for focal persons from different industries in 2009.
The OHS focal persons were provided with Basic OHS and Dispute Prevention and Resolution mechanism with financial support from the Government of India.
20 participants in Occupational Health and Safety Management Consultancy Services (OHS MCS), Delhi, India will provide the courses on importance of OHS, identification of hazard and risk assessment, risk control and internal safety inspection.
Apart from that they will provide the courses on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), machine, electrical and fire safety, material handling and housekeeping, OHS management system and first Aid.
“They will be the ambassadors on how OHS is implemented in the working environment and build the in-house capacity of OHS,” said a labor official Ugyen Samdrup. He said that this will further encourage self-compliances.