Basic Occupational Health care News

Mini occupational health services for unorganized labor markets in India

Kulkarni GK. Mini occupational health services for un-organized labor markets in India. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2018;22:1 (Editorial). PMID: 29743776, see:

(Free PMC Article)

From the total workforce of 537 million in India only 29 million are in the organized sector. The Indian Association of Occupational Health (IAOH), Mumbai  with an NGO partner started a project to implement BOHS in the unorganized labor market in Mumbai.

The survey brought many unlisted occupations such as small-factory-like units, light manufacturing, assembly of machine parts, scrap work, e-waste, printing, cutting, tailoring, and construction ‘naka’ workers seeking casual construction work. The informal workforce comprised mostly of seasonal migrants from other regions. The survey highlighted risky jobs in small confined spaces, unsafe handling of chemicals, lack of basic first aid, no vaccination protection against tetanus and hepatitis B, no access to formal health services and social security, lack of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, loss of limb and frequent injuries, and long working hours.

This changed the thought process considering that BOHS elements cannot be implemented in such an unorganized labor market. One needs to think of simpler, practical and pragmatic solutions, deliberating a new concept of “mini occupational health services or MOHS” offering basic first-aid training, first-aid kits, protection against tetanus through vaccinations, blood group identification and provision of affordable safety solutions. The first phase of MOHS has rolled out in a labor market in Mumbai. The results are encouraging—employers participated with employees in first-aid training and procuring utility first-aid kits. Phase 2 shall be focused at preventive vaccination and blood grouping. Phase 3 shall drive pragmatic safety solutions.

 

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