Industrial Safety and Hazard Management in General Engineering/Fabrication Units

Code No:TMS144Price:Rs1900/-Category:Industrial Safety

India is one of the fast developing industrialized country. Engineering Industry is an important sector of Indian economy. Apart from a significant contributor to GNP and Exports of the country, it also provides job opportunities to lakhs of workers. Over the years industrial Accidents in the Engineering Industry have affected many workers and their family members, who have suffered due to injuries or loss of life of their dear ones. Though the awareness of safety is increasing,, it is still not moving at the desired pace.

Use of modern technology for automation/ mechanization for improving quality and productivity have given rise to new hazards requiring different safety approach and techniques. A worker, being the mainstay of every manufacturing unit, is a crucial human resource whose well being is vital, not only for his family, but also for the Industry and the Nation.

In this perspective a techno-market survey on Industrial Safety & Hazard Management in General Engineering/ Fabrication Units has been commissioned by TIFAC. The summary of the survey is presented below:

1. Scope of Survey

The broad frame work of the objectives for the study are placed in Annexure –I, however, specific to this Survey of scope is as follows ;-

1. Delineate potential causes of :-

(i) Safety Hazards (Injury, fatal accidents)

(ii) Health Hazards (illness, chronic diseases)

(iii) Industry wise data with break up under various categories based upon (a) location of accident, (b) Nature of accident, (c) nature of injury, (d) time of accident, (e) Health/ mental condition of the workman, (f) type o industry, (g) level of existing safety measures etc.

(iv) The direct as well as indirect costs being incurred annually due to the industrial accidents.

(v) The causes of these accidents/ costs. The share of negligence, poor design/ lack of safety aspects in the plant and equipment, work practices etc.

2 Containment of safety/health hazards (source/cause). Safe fail designs (not fail-safe) fro plant and equipment and work practices.

The cost of ”prevention of industrial occupational health and safety hazards at source” Vs. costs of accidents.

3 Personal protective aids, equipment and accessories: status, technology, availability, reliability, relevant quality standards, affordability etc. may be covered.

4 Work environment

i. Work area
ii. Infrastructure for exigencies

5 Work practices (Human factors)

6 The socio-techno-economic aspects

7 Compensation for loss of life and injury as practices in the country and abroad

8 The issues related to organized and unorganized sectors are to be addresses separately. The sectors where the Industrial Occupational Health and Safety acts do not apply.

9 The workman compensation acts

10 Implementation

(i) Role and responsibilities of Management
(ii) Awareness programmes and human resources development
(iii) Factors to promote safety practices
(iv) List of technical/training institutes and the nature of courses/training
being offered by them
(v) List of published literature, books, teaching materials, periodicals, films and videos indicating the source.
(vi) Earlier work done by various agencies

11 Example of good practice(s) in industry

12 Preferred options of “safety practices”

This shoiulkdalsok take in account the losses, direct as well as indirect, due to accidents

13 Recommendations for promoting safety practices along with identification of the agencies and the implementation mechanism.

14 Trade unions” point of view should also be considered (may be through interviews/survey).

15 List of approved surveyors/ monitors for industrial accidents may be included.


Survey work has been a combination of desk research and primary data collection:
1. Desk Research : Thorough search and review of published literature from various books, periodicals, published papers, journals on the subject was carried out.
2. Data search: Review of data through various agencies including electronic media was done.
3. Primary Research: Medium and Small scale manufacturers fro Engineering / Fabrication Industry were covered in the primary survey. Questionnaires were designed to collect data on Cost of Accident, Causes and Factors responsible for Accidents, Usage of Protective Equipment, affordability, quality, technology etc. Separately designed structured questionnaires were also administered to :

i) Safety Equipment Manufacturers.
ii) Organisations/ Institutes involved in occupational Health and Industrial Safety work.
iii) Manufacturers (Small & Medium scale) from Light Engineering/ Fabrication Units.
iv) Workman and Trade Union Representatives.
v) NGO’s and Government Administrating bodies.

Sample questionnaires and list if Organizations covered in the survey are appended as Exhibits to the summary of primary survey (See Annexure –II). Further, questionnaire were also mailed to overseas organizations to cover above segment of respondents in foreign countries as well.

In addition, open discussions were held with few legal experts, surveyors for Industrial Accidents, medical experts to understand their viewpoint on the issue.

The information & data so collected has been analyzed and inferences, conclusions drawn. The report has been finalized in consultation with TIFAC.


The findings of this survey may be read in conjunction with the following limitations:

A) The attempt has been to broad base the response; however the sample of respondents contacted is still a small percentage with respect to the vast no.of manufacturing units of other agencies.

B) This being a sensitive subject, there is a hesitation for parting with detailed data by the manufacturing units.

C) In the unorganized sector, the documentation of Industrial Accident is almost non existent, while in registered small scale units the recording of details is incomplete and sketchy. In medium scale units, the documentation is better than the other units. However, it is understood from discussions with worker representatives, experts of Industrial Safety, NGO’s that there is a tendency to under report. The problem of Industrial Safety therefore, is of higher magnitude than depicted by the figures. [The conclusions are based on discussions with respondents of the industry, and experts of Industrial Safety].

D) The availability of data on Occupational Health in the Engineering Industry is presently limited since very few studies have been conducted on the subject and further due to under reporting of the cases.


Summary of the findings of survey are as follows:

1. In the past few decades, the rate of industrialization in the country has gathered momentum. Apart from new investments for putting up factories, modernization and renovation of existing manufacturing facilities has also taken place to improve quality and productivity. The rate of fatal accidents in the Indian industry is very high in comparison to rate of accidents in the developed industrialized nations.

2. Engineering industry has contributed significantly in the economic growth of the country. More than 17 lac persons are employed in this industry sector. The rate of fatal accidents amongst workers of this industry shows an upward trend. Apart from industrial accidents, the health of worker is also affected by other environmental conditions.

3. Large /heavy engineering units use special purpose /heavy duty machines and/or mass production facilities. Moreover such engineering units being in the organized sector, having unionized and relatively literate work force managed by professionally qualified persons, and having adequate resources in terms of finance, equipment and manpower are more Safety Conscious. In view of above the focus pf the survey is on Medium and Small scale light engineering units.

4. The safety of worker in an engineering unit is endangered by different hazards. The hazards for accidental injury are:

i. Contact with exposed moving parts;
ii. Flying chips or parts
iii. Electricity;
iv. Material moving equipment/ manual lifting;
v. Fire;
vi. Welding hazards;

The hazards which affect the health of a worker are:

i. Air pollution due to welding fumes ad other contaminants;
ii. Noise
iii. Vibration
iv. Heat
v. Poor lighting
vi. Working in shifts
vii. Inadequate space and poor house keeping
viii. Ultra violet radiation
ix. Infrared radiation

5. Analysis of numerous causes for industrial accidents in engineering industry shows that the various causes can be can be grouped into factors relating to:
i) Human Factors:
- Incomplete Information
- Mistaken Action
- Wilfulness
- Mental Condition

ii) Work practice related Factors:
- Usage abuse
- Poor maintenance
- Short cuts/ Improvised or wrong methods

iii) Work environment Factors:
- Space Constraint & Material Movement
- Spillages /Slippery surfaces/ Fall
- Housekeeping & poor light
- Poor ventilation
iv) Plant and equipment design Factors:
- Injury through contact with exposed machinery parts
- Failure of material leading to accident
- Material ejection from machine

v) Other Socio-Techno-Economic Factors:
- Religious Beliefs
- Social Beliefs
- Alcoholism & Drug Addiction
- Physical Condition of the Worker

6. The Government of India have formulated various laws for the welfare of the workers. As per the Factories Act, the primary responsibility of providing a safe work place rests on the employer. In event of accident, the worker is entitled to compensation according toe Workman Compensation Act and/or ESI Act (if he is covered under ESI Scheme and his/her emoluments (a ceiling of Rs.2000/-p.m.) at the rime of suffering the accident with a minimum amount of Rs. 50,000 in case of fatality.

7. The effective safety management system requires an infrastructure within the organization. Present infrastructural facilities in Medium and Small scale units are not to he desired level. Building such an infrastructure has associated costs. However, every accident / occupational health disorder also represents loss to the organization through a=various direct indirect costs in addition to the intangible loss that cannot be converted into monetary terms.

8. Direct costs of accidents are represented by compensation payable to the worker/worker’s dependents; cost of insurance premium; cost of treatment of worker/injured persons; cost of repair of equipment damaged due to the accident; fines imposed by the Court for breach of la w together with cost of defense for legal recourse.

9. Indirect costs to the organization include the cost of lost time of the injured persons, management, first aid staff and other persons involved; cost of lost production and cost of overtime required to be paid to meet the delivery schedules; cost of investigation of the accidents including time involvement of management, supervisory staff and witnesses, cost of replacement of damaged personal property and incidental cost incurred by witnesses attending the court.

Intangible loss to the organization includes loss of reputation to the company; impact on motivation of fellow workers; impact on labour relation as an outcome of the accident etc.

10. On the other hand the cost of accident prevention includes cost of protection equipment/ cost of engineering solutions for eliminating or controlling the hazards; cost of building infrastructure within the organization for implementation, running and monitoring of an effective safety management system: cost of managing such infrastructure ; cost of safety training etc.

While the cost of accident prevention is pre planned allowing grater flexibility and control to the management, the cost of accident has to be borne in a totally unplanned manner. Intangible benefits of a better worker morale, higher productivity, reduced cost of production, better labour relation also accrue to the Company. Above all it helps in safeguarding valuable human resource hence, adoption of measures for safety of the workers is always the better option.

11. Different types of Barriers/ Guards or Trip devices incorporated in the Plant & Equipment to warn or stop the worker from coming in contact with hazardous part of the machine include:

i) Awareness Barrier
ii) Pull-Back Barrier
iii) Fixed guard/Distance Guard/ Adjustable Guard
iv) Interlocking Guard/ Automatic Guard
v) Trip Bar/ Trip Devices actuated by Photo-Electric or Ultra Sonic or Pressure based signals
vi) Two hand control/ Over run Device/ Mechanical Restraint Device

12. Engineering or Management solutions can be applied to control/ eliminate some of the hazards for safety of worker as follows:

A Noise: - Isolation or Damping of Vibration causing noise;
- Fitment of a silencer or machine causing noise;
- Distancing the Noise emanating equipment from main work area;
- Barrier and /or Sound absorption media;
- Reducing machine speed to reduce sound if permissible;
- Administrative measures to control exposure to hazard

B. Vibration: - Isolation by mounting pads etc.
- Damping by shock absorbers/ springs etc.

C. Ventilation - Local Exhaust Ventilation
- Dilution Ventilation;
- Comfort Ventilation

D. Fire: - Segregation / Isolation of Flammable Goods/ Hazard Activity; Flameproof Equipment

E. Electricity: - Earthling of Machine for Operator Safety

F. Low Back Injury: Posture for lifting;
Ergonomical Considerations in Work Area Design

G. Shift Working: - Time for Acclimatisation while shift change

H. Human Error/ Work Practice Factor:
- Permit System
- Tagout/ Lockout System
- Planned Maintenance
- Task Analysis & Workmen Selection
- Training
- Performance Monitoring and feedback
- Health & Fitness Surveillance

13. Other than Engineering/ Management solutions, Personal Protection Equipment(PPE) is also required to be used for worker safety. Usage of PPE is not to the desired extent in the industry due to various reasons. Most common reason for non-usage is the equipment being uncomfortable. Other reasons are – Not aware of the Hazard/ Not provided by the Management or Owner/ Carelessness of the Worker.

14. Different types of Personal Protection Equipment for Engineering Units available in the country are:

- Safety Helmets/ Welding Helmets;
- Eye Spectacles/ Eye Goggles/ Face Shield
- Hand Gloves;
- Safety Shoes;
- Ear Plugs/ Ear Muffs;
- Body Clothing;
- Safety Belts and Harnesses;
- Dust Masks/ Respirators;
- Waist Support Belts.

15. Based on evaluation of various alternatives, the following Recommendations, Action Plan and Implementations Strategy have been suggested.


Plant & Equipment Safety Devices

1. Fixed Guards should be mandatory for covering transmission parts in different machine tools of Engineering Units. Similarly, In running nip points should also be covered with Fixed/ Adjustable guards/ Distance guard.
Machine Tool Designers and Manufacturers and User Industry to ensure

2. In Machines, if provision of guard is not possible at the point of operation of the tool, alternative techniques of keeping operator’s hand out of danger area need to be adopted like Awareness Barrier/ Pull Back Barrier/ two Hand Control Device. Machine Manufacturers/ user Departments in co-ordination with workers.

3. Trip Devices, actuated mechanically or by pressure sensitive strips or mats/ electrosensitive safety system based on ultra sonic or photosensitivity should be adopted for NC/ CNC machines. These systems should be Safe-Fail Design.

Machinery Manufacturers in consultation with manufacturers of such sensing devices.

Engineering Options

4. Layout of machine is traditionally being done considering movement of material. In small scale industry, the addition of machinery is in stages and scientific layout is not followed. Planning of the machine layout taking into account safety management considerations also, should be allow adequate space for removal of waste, access for maintenance work etc.

Management of the Engineering Units.

5. The housekeeping in majority of Small & Medium Engineering units is a problem area. The space constraint leads to inadequate provision of space for material storage and material movement leading to hazardous work conditions. It is recommended that standard norms of space should be provided for various machines and strictly adhered to.

In consultation with industrialists, workers safety experts, suitable norms should be evolved for space to be provided around each machine taking into account space required for material storage, material movement, operator movement etc. and the same should be implemented.

6. Proper foundation and use of Mounting Pads for reducing the Vibration is recommended, particularly for Sharing Press/ Shaper/ Planer/ Punching Press machines which generate high vibrations. For noise reduction, use of silencer should be preferred. In situations where silencer cannot be fitted, if sufficient space is available, the noise generating machine should be placed at a distance and isolated form main work area.

User Industry to implement recommendations of Machinery manufacturers for Vibration and Noise Control. With the help of expert, noise level in work area needs to be assesses and the noise generating machine/s isolated.

7. Ventilation should be provided considering air pollution as well as Comfort angle in the workshop- Welding/ Painting/ Heat Treatment shops, in particular. For Air Quality, Local Exhaust or Dilution Technique may be used, the former being preferable. Assessment of air quality in work area should be done in Welding Shops/ Heat Treatment Shops/ Painting Area. With the help of expert in Ventilation, suitable system, to be installed in these shops.

8. Assembly/ Testing Work stations should be designed taking into account ergonomical aspects for reducing operator fatigue as well as ill effect of bad posture leading to back pain for workers. Similarly, lifting of heavy loads manually needs to be discouraged by creating awareness of it’s ill effects and mobilizing opinion against it through campaigns.

Help of experts should be taken by management for ergonomcial designing of work stations. The expenses will be recovered through better productivity of the worker who does not suffer back ache and fatigue. NGO’s/ Institutions may be involved for campaigning against lifting of heavy loads manually.

9. For developing a self sustaining Safety culture in the organization the commitment of top management is essential. Regular feedback in Safety aspects should be given to workers, supervisors and Managers. The Safety Officials in the organization should be allowed sufficient freedom and vested with powers to ensure compliance of Safety regulations.

Directors/ Senior Managers in Organization.

10. Permit system and Tagout/Lockout system should be extensively used for avoiding accidents due to Human Error or Misperception. Likewise, sufficient rest period should be allowed before change of shift should not be changed at short intervals.

Safety Committees/ Safety Departments of the Organisation.

11. Regular assessment worker’s skill training needs, motivation and safety consciousness should be carried out. Periodic Health Surveillance must also be done. Apart from giving feedback to worker; corrective action by way of training inputs/job rotation to match one’s skill and attitude and treatment in case of illness should follow.

Personnel Department with the help of Workshop Incharge and Safety Officials should assess workers training needs, motivation, attitudes, skill, safety consciousness etc. Medical help may be taken for taken fro Health Surveillance and follow up treatment wherever required. Proper documentation to be maintained giving complete health history for future reference.

12. Awareness training modules for Noise, Vibration, Heat hazard should be carried out. Subsequently, workers should be involved in chalking out Safety Stratefy to counter this hazard in the workplace. Training inputs should be planned and imparted to cover all aspects of Safety. In this respect training inputs should be planned and imparted to cover all aspects of safety. In this respect training for proper usage of the material handling equipment to the casual workforce is very important to avoid accidents due to misuse out of ignorance.

Management of companies should draw up a long term training strategy in consultation with union. It should also sponsor and assist various training agencies to prepare training modules in regional languages. NGO’s may be involved for awareness campaign.

Personal Protection Equipment

13. Presently for welding purposes, the usage of eye protection equipment namely goggles/ spectacles has gained acceptance. However, the awareness of ill effects of training institutes in co-ordination with SISI and small scale manufactures associations of different areas/ regions.

Training Institutes in co-ordination with SISI and small scale manufacturers associations in different areas/ regions.

14. Survey should be commissioned, covering all types of engineering units, related to existence of occupational diseases and formulation of action plan for containing further damage.

National institute of occupational health should be entrusted the responsibility with a time frame. It may seek help from other Govt./Non-Govt/bodies if required .

15. Financial resource is one of the major bottleneck for small scale and medium scale engineering industry investments in safety equipment. Safety systems should be encouraged by allowing suitable tax incentives/ lower premium for ESI.’

Central government in consultation with state government, union leaders and engineering industry representatives,

Although providing a sage work place is the responsibility of the management of the manufacturing unit. Contribution and support is essential from all parties concerned viz. union, worker, supervisory staff of the organization, protective equipment manufactures, government bodies, safety institutes and research organization etc.