Friday June 21, 2024

Health and safety

November 02, 2019

Every developed country has an organisation and aa law to define and manage matters relating to Occupational Health and Safety. In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive is the nationwide independent watchdog responsible for enforcing the legislation surrounding Health and Safety Law at the Workplace. The US has an Occupational Safety and Health Act and an Occupational Safety & Health Organisation (OSHA). The European Union (EU) countries use the EU Strategic Framework Law on health and safety at work, which is overseen by European Agency for Safety and Health.

Pakistan neither has a federal law nor an organisation to oversee Health and Safety (H&S), set standards or act as a watchdog. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have no provincial health and safety laws. Punjab and Sindh have developed their H&S Acts but have failed to do go any further in creating mechanisms for health and safety processes. Pakistan has made scores of laws and SROs to enable its ruling elite to possess weapons of prohibited bore and create private militias. However, as a country it has neither a law nor an organisation to support health and safety of its unimportant, irrelevant, ordinary people. The train fire accident that burnt 74 citizens beyond recognition was only a logical and expected outcome. Sadly this and many other accidents will continue to take place (as they have been in the last 72 years), as long as every organisation does not build an effective and modern health and safety system. The opening line of such a system must clearly state “It is the responsibility of the top management of an organisation to make arrangements to control and prevent physical, chemical, biological, radiological, ergonomic, psycho-social or any other hazards to its employees and all other persons at the workplace”.

Naeem Sadiq