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Thread Started by #vaibhavd.more

Dear All,

Recently major incident happened in chemical company (Tarapur-Maharashtra). 5 people dead in the incident. Police filed FIR against Safety Officer. I think its unfair as Safety Officer has only advisory role as per Factories Act. Nobody supports Safety Person as the word SAFETY is very generic term & every body thinks that Safety Officer is responcible for incidents happened in factory. This may ruined the carrier of Safety Officer. This type of incidents force me to think that 'WHY I AM IN SAFETY FIELD?'

In my organization i am trying to convince our managment that Safety is everybodies responsibility but they are not convinced. Even my organization is least bothered about roles and responsility of Safety Officer mentioned in factories Act. They consider that being a Safety Officer i am the only person who is responsible for unsafe acts and unsafe conditions happened in factory.

"CAN ANYBODY GUIDE ME THAT HOW DO I CONVINCE OUR MANAGEMENT FOR MY ROLE ?."

Regards,

Vaibhav More
25th March 2013 From India, Mumbai
The Safety officer is needed generally in factories having more than 1000 workers.Legally manager/occupier is responsible for safety unless they prove exemption u/s 101.He who is responsible for accidents in factories where SO is not mandatory,will be legally liable in other factories also As seen in this case sometimes even the safety committee also will be held liable in the incredible India where the occupier of Union Carbide factory was let off as a VIP.
VARGHESE MATHEW
25th March 2013 From India, Thiruvananthapuram
Dear Mr. Vaibhav More,

I strongly blame your management for being ridiculous and possessing non-safety attitude. through SAFETY OFFICER, If your management could have succeeded in implementing and making your employees practice to work safely and adhere to highest safety standards, i am sure any incident could have been prevented.



Your management should declare every employee as a safety officer and its the responsibility of every employee to apply logic, utilize their commonsense and take complete responsibility in delivering their roles/responsibilities without hurting themselves nor inviting troubles. An employee has all rights to warn, stop him(employee) from being arrogant and being unsafe at workplace which may cause trouble to co-workers.

I wonder, how can police register FIR against your safety officer?

On what ground they had registered FIR against him?

Did police carry out necessary investigation?

In India, SAFETY has no meaning and THERE IS NO VALUE FOR LIFE as well. I still blame our government for not enforcing SAFETY STANDARDS in Industries and in all organisations.

With profound regards
25th March 2013 From India, Chennai
Dear friends,

It's no secret, as many pointed out, to escape they found a scape goat in Safety Officer as if others don't have any responsibility w.r.t. to safety. It's prima facie possible to fix the responsibility on SO as on record he is the designated officer who has to take care of all omissions and commissions so far as safety aspects are concerned. Whether the SO did his job as provided for in his manual/within the mandate is a moot point. Whereas legally the owner should be responsible for any lapses, the SO could be co-accused. It's easy in India for big bosses to escape the gallows. SO has nothing left except fight it out legally for which he should have his record clean which I doubt very much. Logically who should be held responsible depends on the circumstances of each cash. For e.g. attached is the HC of Delhi judgment on road accident due to man hole not maintained, and we all know about the Bhopal Gas Tragedy these could throw some insight into the subject.

kumar.s.
26th March 2013 From India, Bangalore

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File Type: doc Safety-Accident on road -manhole-who is responsible HIGH COURT OF DELHI.doc (53.5 KB, 1076 views)
File Type: doc Fatal accident who is responsible.doc (48.0 KB, 934 views)

Safety officer is easily available scape goat. I have been advocating Association of safety officers to protect themselves, Few years back, we established Safety Professional Association and got it registered under T.U.A ct. We organized several program and our delegation mt Labor minister.Our advocacy efforts resulted in changes in Guj. Safety Officers Rules,1981 But then somehow members were not much interested in the Association and now it is defunct.
27th March 2013 From India, Coimbatore
Dear All,

The Police will register FIR on Prima Facie evidence. In other words, Police is bound to follow this procedure and then the investigation takes place. During the Investigation, the concerned Safety Officer has to prove that there is no lapse on his part and it is for the Police to file Charge Sheet on people responsible based on its investigation. It does not end here. The accused can prove his innocence in court of law with documentary and oral evidence. Hence, it is a legal process in which some time innocent people will have to undergo this process which is more painful. Further, it is for the employer to protect their Officer who in not directly responsible for such mishap.

It is a fact, that employer don't heed to the Safety Norms or the advise and as a Safety Officer, one should have necessary documentary records/proof to show what precautions are taken by him.

While driving on road, we see many accidents but don't stop driving. Similarly, don't get panic and one have to undergo legal process to prove his innocence.

I appreciate Mr. Kumar. who have given High Court citation and other materials. I also appreciate other member Mr. PTRC who initiated to form a Union but could't.
27th March 2013 From India, Bangalore
All this will happen in India.When an army chief submitted his matriculation certificate to prove his age our SC rejected it.When a juvenile rapist murderer submitted the same ,court accepted it. Our nethas loot the country and go freely.But when somebody comments on them in social media FIR are registered or the comments are blocked.Still we claim as the largest democracy.
VARGHESE MATHEW
9961266966
27th March 2013 From India, Thiruvananthapuram
Dear Vaibhav,
Other members have given their opinions. Now what you need to do is to protect yourself first. Therefore, contact lawyer who handles industrial safety cases and find out whether FIR registered against you can be squashed. However, for this you need to have sufficient evidence as well. Therefore, start generating evidence.
Before hiring a lawyer check whether he has handled safety related cases. Do not get carried away by the glib talk of the lawyers.
Ok...
Dinesh V Divekar
27th March 2013 From India, Bangalore
Normally, police look a the angle of crime- whether the incident was some will full mischief or not. They write to the Factory Inspectorate to clarify and once they receive the report from FI that the incident is PURE ACCIDENT and that FI is investigating, police would close the file
27th March 2013 From India, Coimbatore
CiteHR Human Resource Management Community Knowledgebase - View Profile: vaibhavd.more

There is some confusion here, I think people misunderstood what u said.

The case of fir against the safety officer was not in your factory right ?

If so, you are trying to ensure that you do not fall into the same situation.

(Some posts assume that you are the safety officer of the tarapur factory)

Now, for your problem, you need to speak to the HR head, Operations Head and the occupier and explain to them the safety related problems and what the implication will be. You need their help to make safety an important factor in the factory decisions and in normal day to day operations. I know it's a tough mindset to change. I know of a factory where the safety rules require the workers to use leather gloves in certain process due to sparks emitting from the machine. They workers were refusing and the union even threatened to go on strike though the management was forcing the matter solely for workers benefit.

If the management is not interested in listening, then it's time you find a job in a different factory where you are needed. Till you leave, make sure you are putting your suggestions in writing to the management. Keep a copy of the same in a separate file at home to use as evidence if the management goes hostile. Every time you find unsafe practices, follow that up with a notice / memo / mail to the concerned manager and his superiors so they can't claim ignorance.

Hope that helps
27th March 2013 From India, Mumbai
Vaibhav Can you give me details of the tarapur case ? I need it for some research
27th March 2013 From India, Mumbai
Dear Banerjee Sir, Details of accident is available on internet. (one thing i want to highlight is that this accident was occured in our organization.) From, Vaibhav more
28th March 2013 From India, Mumbai
Dear All, By mistake i have wrriten that this accident is occured in our organization. Please ingnore earlier mail. This accidnet was NOT occured in our organization. From, Vaibhav More
28th March 2013 From India, Mumbai
I assume you are talking of : Seven booked for Tarapur drug reactor accident - Times Of India
The seven booked are joint MD Harshit Savla, directors Uday Patil and Harit Shah, assistant production manager Popat Patel, safety officer Jeetendra Deora, operations manager Pramod Mishra, who is missing, and works manager Sachin Poojary, who was killed. They were booked under Section 304 (a) for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, which is a bailable offence.
So, unlike what you said, the directors have been arrested also. Not just the safety officer. Obviously this is logical for the police, specially since it is a case of negligence.
28th March 2013 From India, Mumbai
Dear Vaibhav,

The answer to your dilema would be to document all safety related issues occuring in your factory in the following manner:

1. Ensure notices underlining safety are posted in public areas of the factory.

2. Ensure that a notice underlining specific work-related safety issue is posted in the concerned workshop/area. Eg in a workshop:

"wearing fully covered shoes, gloves and eye protection equipment is mandatory in this area. Any employee caught without the same will be penalised.

3. Start documenting instances where employees do not follow guidelines, ensure you send copies of the same to:

a. The offending employee,

b. His supervisor

c. The company HR

d. Your own manager

4. Bring up these cases on a regular basis at monthly meetings.

5. Talk to your manager and the union on the feasibility of fining the offending employees.

6. Raise the insurance angle, as insurance require companies to follow guidelines.

These may or may not raise safety consciouness in your factory, but if you have copies of the documents that you raised, it will help you in covering yourself in case of an incident.

It may sound cynical, but when you start making it obvious that you are documenting safety related lapses, your bosses wil be forced into action, if for no other reason then to cover themselves.

Regards,

Gokul
28th March 2013 From India, Madras
Dear Vaibhav, All sympathies to the SO who has been unnecessarily implicated in the fatal accident matter. Since this is a criminal case under IPC, and in the absence of any criminal intention in the matter, the point for consideration is only whether there was negligence of duties on his part. So the SO has to submit to police showing clearly what his duties were and how he has discharged them. I do not think that even if the case is charged, he will have great difficulty in getting bail and during the trial there would not be sufficient evidence to prove the charge beyond doubt. But isn't there prosecution under the Factories Act 1948. On the same set of facts there cannot be two set of prosecution under different acts. There are clear judgements that in case of Factory Accidents the prosecution has to be under the Factories Act and not IPC. Any good lawyer can file for discharge and save the SO from the tortoure of a criminal trial.

As regards your query of bringing an organisational change where all except you are paying no heed to safety, this needs a cultural change in the organisation. Such changes are gradual and takes time. The first and foremost step is to bring awareness about the unsafe conditions in your factory. A sort of safety audit needs to be conducted and the unsafe conditions and practices have to be listed out. Once they are ready they have to be put up before the Factiory Occupier with full force clearly brining out the implications and the penal consequences. I am attaching a presentation which is a collation from various sources and which I have used with good effect to bring safety awareness. Probably it may be of some use to you
29th March 2013 From India, Bhopal

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File Type: ppt Lessons in Safety Management for Managerial Personnel.ppt (1.43 MB, 511 views)

Hi All,

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Jayshree
3rd April 2013 From India, Mumbai
really...surprising...as some member cited here is that of the UNION CARBIDE case, some put about the accident in the road due to open manhole.....you search for 1 & u wil get lakh & lakhs of cases relating to this kind of probs....the most and only thing in this we forgetting is WE SHOULD WELL KNOW ABOUT THE LAW...irrespective of post that we are holding in an organisation, whether it is required or not - but we should know it little bit, so that the khakis will not dare to harass any1....I would suggest to go to any court and find the person selling handbook on various topics, like consumer rights, criminal procedure, civil procedure..etc...you definitely will find a hand book on safety - be it for the organisation or for some other reason, like: cracker, explosive, building collapse, bridge collapse...and also do consult with a lawyer about this....hope you will get the proper guidance....all the best......Arminta
3rd April 2013 From India, Bhubaneswar
---------------

Dear V.M.

It's unfair to draw parallel to both of these stray cases. Leave alone the Apex court negatived the General's claim (I consider the General's claim is unfair and opportunistic which ultimately didn't find favour as a senior officer of a govt. should have the primary knowledge and responsibility when and where to raise such disputes. I remember atleast about 20-25 years back the SC ruled that disputes about the DOB should be sorted out before entering the services and no litigations should be accepted by the courts while in service based on arbitrary documents like EPF/gratuity declarations, Baptism certificate etc.) It is not that difficult in India to obtain M.K.Gandhi's birth certificate dating 1.1.11. Whereas the juvenile issue is a deliberate faking of records to escape from the gallows. And that the Juvenile court's (got limited powers) verdict can be disputed in appropriate judicial review. I understand your concern for the vexed problem.The query only should serve as a lesson for authorities how they should discharge their primary responsibilities. Had he complied with all his legal responsibilities he need only to fight out successfully at the courts.

Coming to the case in question of Vaibhav, I fear his friend SO definitely cannot be the culprit. I believe it's for sure that the lapses of operations & maintenance people had lead to this mishap. But who would say authentically that SO had done his duty but lapses of others only should be the cause. This can only be revealed after an investigation. (Thank God if sabotage is ruled out) I'm not sure why the big bosses were not booked in this case. I think the SO and his tech. team in association with a competent lawyer only could save him from this imminent danger.Regards.

kumar.s.
4th April 2013 From India, Bangalore
Please read the details of the case as appearing in the press
The police registered the case against the senior management, factory manager and occupier and also the safety officer. While the original post seem to indicate that the safety officer alone was held responsible, the case is not so

5th April 2013 From India, Mumbai
If safety officer in a company can be accused for mishaps, the municipal corporators also should be sued for mishpas on the roads, as they are responsible for roads. And we see that in big cities, the potholes are not corrected unless someone loses his life in the accident.
8th April 2013 From India, Mumbai
Hi Vaibhav,

Are you a safety officer for namesake in the company? Are your responsibilities made clear to you by management & HR?

If not, then it is entirely an different issue.

If they are clear, then as a safety officer, you should be responsible to generate, maintain, & track the safety related procedures & guidelines. If they are not being followed by any department, then it will be also your responsibility to enforce them through various means (trainings, restrictions, penalties, etc). Your organisation's safety certifications (ISO, etc) would support you for the same.

If the safety officer fails to prove that these processes are being avoided, without any action taken against it; then it is logical the the FIR (First information report) is logged againast the SO, until further evidence is produced. I appreciate the response from Vivian, in this regards.

Safety is surely everybody's responsibility, but 'everybody follows the organisational preocedures' is the SO responsibility. Also, if there are any flaws in the safety policies of organisation, then SO is responsible for the same as well.

As for the case of Tarapur accident, the news say that the initial fire was followed by five blasts, followed by fire extending to the factory. It is not known why the fire fighting equipment did not trigger the shutdown of the site, avoiding the fire spread. I am sure there would be more than opne persons to blame here, as in today's technologically advanced word of industries, such things cannot happen by one person's silly mistakes.

Regards,

Amod.
26th February 2015
Sorry for the wrong reference... The details of accident from Tarapur MIDC mentioned in my above post were for an accident in April-2014. The one mentioend by other posts is from March-2013...
There was aninterresting comment on this news on TOI online article. I am giving it as it is from the news website:
"Safety standards in palghar boisar chemical plants are a joke: If you track the history of the such explosions in various factories in the Boisar MIDC, you will realise that there is almost one every month. The safety officer are surely not doing their work and many incidents dont event get reported. I hope this time we see some strict action and not some shoddy probe."
- Amod.
26th February 2015
Hi,
Safety Officer is not the only person who needs to take care of the safety aspects.Safety is every body's concern.
It is safety officer however to bring forward/bring to the notice of the management about the potential threat perceptions and hazards and risks found at the work place.Secondly he should also bring out the consequences that management has to bear.with legal stand to prove the same.
A safety Officer should also ensure that he follows the safety related reports are properly generated and training and adequate awareness is spread among the workers.
Pointing towards the mere causes of accidents in general, they happen due to carelessness, ignorance and non awareness of safety practices.Having said this, if all safety related activities and efforts are recorded and compiled, it will always help safety officers and the safety team as a whole to minimize the accidents/incidents happening in the work Place.Also as per Murphy's Law - if there remains a chance of an mistake/accident to happen,some day someone at some point of time that mistake/accident will be committed/happen.Human errors are of such nature.
Safety people are the people who are engaged in saving Human life and loss or damage to company.So feel proud to be one of the life saving members and do not worry.So,As you save lives,so you are always safe.
Carrier in Safety field may be earning option or profession,but look at it from the greater perspective it will always boost your moral.Contribute to life saving and you earn more than any thing in life.
26th February 2015 From India, Vadodara
Dear All,
There are many industries which do not respect the safety norms. Even though the opinion is the payment what the company has to pay to SO the same can be paid to inspecting officer/govt. officer and matter can be solved. Other opinion is SO is not allowed in many industries to send mail, no one signs his memo and no one refuse his comment but do not follow or obey him. SO has many difficulty to keep him self safe in many industries. When ever safety versas production or maintenance comes in front of mangment always safety looses the game.
There should be strong rules for the safety officer to keep him self safe and to make other safe.
26th February 2015 From India, Bhopal
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