Indian Chamber of Commerce hosts its 5th National Occupational Health and Safety Conference

Kolkata, 23 September 2023: The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) organised the 5th National Occupational Health and Safety Conference on Friday, 22nd September 2023, at The Lalit Great Eastern Hotel in Kolkata. This esteemed event brought together industry leaders, experts, and dignitaries to discuss and acknowledge the crucial role of occupational health and safety in today’s workforce, followed by an award ceremony to honour excellence in the industry. The event was graced by esteemed dignitaries like Dr. Krishna Nirmalya Sen, Chairman, Indian Chamber of Commerce OHS Committee; H.E. Mr. Andalib Elias, Deputy High Commissioner, Bangladesh Deputy High Commission; Smt. Sharmila Khatua, Additional Commissioner, Department of Labour, Government of West Bengal; and Mr. Sudipta Mukherjee, Chief Advisor (Generation), CESC Ltd.

While delivering the welcome address, Dr. Krishna Nirmalya Sen, Chairman, ICC OHS Committee, said, “In an era where the well-being of our workforce is paramount, the 5th ICC National Occupational Health and Safety Conference & Awards serves as a crucial platform for sharing knowledge and recognizing outstanding achievements in this field. Every employee has a basic right to occupational health and safety, making them more than just duties. According to my own experiences and observations, occupational health and safety is a fundamental commitment to ensure every employee can do their jobs in an environment that reduces risks and supports their health, not just a bureaucratic or legal necessity. This entails spotting potential risks to one’s health and safety, acting promptly to fend off illnesses and accidents, and handling any problems that do occur with efficiency. I am honoured to be a part of this significant event.”

While delivering the theme address, H. E. Mr. Andalib Elias, Deputy High Commissioner, Bangladesh Deputy High Commission, Kolkata, said, “Being a part of this event, which is organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, fills me with enormous pride and honour. The need for occupational health and safety is universal and of the utmost importance. Witnessing such cooperation and commitment to these ideals is incredibly encouraging. I sincerely believe that initiatives like this conference strengthen international relations and highlight the need of protecting the workers. This honour is significant in recognizing and rewarding excellence in occupational health and safety. The workers’ health and safety is a pillar of any successful firm in today’s vibrant and constantly changing corporate environment. Industry executives, lawmakers, and implementers all have a duty to uphold it for their staff members. Our first responsibility is to make sure that every employee gets home safely. Due to the extraordinary global issues we have faced recently, we have developed the ability to adapt and come up with answers. Awards like this one encourage a constant path of progress while simultaneously recognizing accomplishments. All of the awardees and winners have my sincere compliments. From Bangladesh’s standpoint, we have been actively trying to establish and continuously improve the Occupational Health and Safety environment across all industries. Everybody in the sector should continually develop because there will be new obstacles every day.”

Guest of Honour Smt. Sharmila Khatua, Additional Commissioner, Department of Labour, Government of West Bengal, addressed, “The Government of West Bengal is committed to ensuring the welfare and safety of workers across the state. This conference not only offers a forum for the sharing of knowledge, but it also honours outstanding work in the area of occupational health and safety. There are some who work in the unorganised sector in addition to those who are employed in the organised sector. On average, the unorganised sector employs 93% of the labour force. The West Bengal Government has put in place a number of laws and regulations protecting employees in the organised sector, but today I want to emphasise that unorganised sector employees’ demands and vulnerability are even larger. The state government has established boards and developed a number of programmes to help these workers. Workers who enrol in these programmes are eligible to receive government assistance, especially in cases of emergency like illness, death, or incapacity. There has been a noticeable rise in the number of migrant workers since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of West Bengal has launched a scheme called the Welfare Scheme for Migrant Workers in order to guarantee their safe movement and wellbeing. This programme attracted approximately 1.4 million migrant workers in only one month. We applaud the ICC for continuing to work in this direction.”

Mr. Sudipta Mukherjee, Chief Advisor (Generation), CESC Ltd., delivered the vote of thanks and said, “I want to express my sincere appreciation to all the dignitaries, speakers, delegates, and guests as we come to a close on this thought-provoking conference. This award provides a forum for discussing best practices and picking the brains of our peers. Continuous improvement should be our main objective because there is always room for improvement, no matter where we are now. In order to increase production, occupational health and safety standards must be strengthened. India has proper rules and legislation supporting wages; however, these laws still need to be better enforced to guarantee workers’ protection. In addition, the government is thinking about enforcing fines for disregarding or breaking wage regulations. In order to improve occupational health and safety across all industries, policymakers should rethink their strategy. Work should be distributed according to two essential tenets: matching the worker’s abilities to the task and tailoring the job to fit the worker. Let’s keep working to create a safer and healthier workplace using the knowledge we’ve learned here.”