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PROMOTION, TRAINING AND EDUCATION ON OSH IN DEVELOPING COUNTRY NEPAL

Mr. Yub Raj Sharma, Nepal

Nepal is a developing country with industries being one of the major sources of economic development. Improved standards of occupational safety and health and enhanced productivity in the industries can be achieved only through better work environment. In the past very few activities were carried out in the field of occupational safety and health in Nepal. But such activities are growing up gradually but they still need improvement and envigorment. To promote occupational safety and health in the industries at individual and organizational level, the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management has established Occupational Safety and Health Project in 1995. Since its establishment it is working dynamically by launching several promotional activities in this field in different geographical areas of the country. Besides promotion of OSH a prime objective of the project has been to strengthen other similar organizations such as Labour Offices, Employers' Organizations and Trade Union Federations (the social partners) to enable them to work dynamically in the field of occupational safety and health. As the project is located centrally, it also has an opportunity for better coordination with the Labour Offices Employers' Organizations and Trade Union Federations (the social partners) to work towards dynamic and continued development of OSH a part of their regular work The ultimate aim of this project is to improve working condition and productivity by utilizing the available resources and manpower as well as provide advisory services to the concerned organizations. Besides these the project is conducting several other activities such as development and production of promotional materials, conduct training for employer's, employees and government officials for continuous promotion of occupational safety and health situation in Nepal. Those activities are being carried out with its own government budget and getting support or fund from other similar international agencies and organizations. In Nepalese context occupational safety and health is comparatively a new field, which has been given least priority as a business and organizational issue. This has been because of several factors such as lack of awareness, lack of competence, lack of mutual understanding among social partners and inadequate manpower working in this field. But the scenario has been continuously changing for the last few years and it is being gradually accepted and developed as business tool.

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THE MAJOR ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT BY THE PROJECT ARE LISTED BELOW: * Develop and distribute training and awareness materials: The basic concept of occupational safety and health promotion is to educate and make aware the concerned people on OSH. This could only be possible when they get adequate training and relevant training materials. In that respect the project developed some training and awareness materials both in Nepalese and English language and have been widely distributed. Distribution of prepared training and awareness materials is free for the concerned people and organizations. This is carried out directly either during conducting training from the centre or though different concerning governments, employers' and trade union organizations. The most important materials are: - Training materials + Training package for managers: For the effective implementation of OSH in the workplace it is very important to raise awareness and educate entire workforce regarding OSH. The education and awareness is still more important especially for who are responsible for decision-making in these issues. Considering those things the project has developed separate training packages for high-level managers looking after entire safety and health issues. This includes some general topics on occupational safety and health and more emphasized on managing workplace safety and health and their implementation system. This is a ready-made package of three separate books. The first book contains general overview and theoretical inputs, second contains power point slides and third one includes photo slides of different Nepalese workplaces. This is a simple and practical one prepared completely in English. + For workers in Nepali language: Next to the manager the most important body in the industry are shop floor workers. With out taking their cooperation it is very difficult to implement OSH in the workplace. The one important aspect for this is to train and educate workers in this matter. Considering those things the project has developed separate training packages for general shop floor workers of different kind. This has been developed for trainers as a ready- made training material for those who are interested to conduct similar training courses independently in the future. This includes varieties of topics for general safety and health point of view such as workplace accident, ergonomics, chemical safety, electricity safety, housekeeping, material handling, first aid, occupational health and some relevant posters. The entire package is in Nepalese language.

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+ Manual for general safety in Nepali language: Besides training packages project also has developed books for the promotion of safety and health in general peoples. This is completely theoretical and printed in Nepalese language. + Compilation of photo slides of different types of working environment: For the training point of view the project has developed and complied several varieties of photo slides from industries of different kinds which includes workplace situation and work practices. - Awareness materials: + Informative posters in hard copy related to OSH: To create awareness on OSH the project has developed several variety hard copy posters in Nepalese languages. The distribution is free to the industries and similar concerning organizations. + Distribution of OSH promotional materials - T-shirts, caps, batches and bags having safety slogan: Besides posters the project has developed other OSH promotional materials such as T-shirt, caps, batches and bags having safety slogan. Those materials are basically distributed to all the concerned people during the occasion of National Safety and Health Week celebrating nationwide. * Conduct training on OSH:Varieties of short-term training and awareness programs have been conducted by this project. The duration of short-term training is four to five days depending upon the time and interest of the participants. These are of following categories: - Training for employers: This is designed for managers whom have the responsibility to look after entire safety and health of the industry and also for those managers whom are keen interested for that. The aim of this training is to build up of the capability of the managers as trainers. The participants are called from industries directly from the centre and in some cases from the employers' organization. - Training for workers: This is designed basically for shop floor workers. The participants are invited directly from the industries having a previous knowledge on OSH or have some work experience. The aim of this training is to build up of the capability among the workers and make them trainers for further training. Other than this project is conducting general awareness training for general workers to make aware the 120

workers for successful implementation of OSH exploring their knowledge and experience. Similarly participants are called from industries directly from the centre and in some cases from different trade unions. - Training for government employees: Besides special training for workers and managers project is also conducting training for government employees basically for factory inspectors and others whom are directly involved for looking after OSH issues in the respective organizations. The aim of this training is to make individuals capable of conducting training on this matter independently in the future. * Continuation of National safety and health week annually: Similarly for raising awareness and establishing good cooperation among all social partners celebration of national safety and health week has been started since 2000.In the last 2001, this week was celebrated in 22 different area conducting several activities. In the same programme altogether 31 persons from different social partners were involved as a trainer and 5500 persons were benefited from this programme. During the occasion National safety awards are distributed to different occupational safety and health. The categories of the awards are as: NATIONAL SAFETY AWARD FOR SAFEST WORKPLACE IN TWO CATEGORIES - Large and medium industry: The award is awarded to an industry in this category in recognition of having the safest workplace. - Cottage and small industries: The award is awarded to an industry in this category in recognition of having the safest workplace. - Safety award for workers who have best contributed towards OSH in two categories: + Male workers: This award is distributed to those workers who have highly contributed for the improvement of OSH in their workplace and have high level of commitment for that. For that in the same manner award selection team is formed. The first step is form distribution among interested workers, second step is form collection, and third step is screening and shorting out of at least 10 workers. The final step is to visit their respective workplace and conduct interview. After interview and workplace inspection best three male workers are selected. 121

+ Female workers This award is distributed to those workers who have highly contributed for the improvement of OSH in their workplace and have high level of commitment for that. For that, in the same manner award selection team is formed. The first step is form distribution among interested workers, second step is form collection, and third step is screening and shorting out of at least 10 workers. The final step is to visit their respective workplace and conduct interview. After interview and workplace inspection best three female workers are selected. * Provide advisory service to industries for OSH improvement: The project basically conducts routine monitoring of workplace and provides advisory services to them for improvement. Sometime such monitoring and advisory services activities are conducted based on the request and complaint which may come directly either from industry or from concerned labour offices / individuals.

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