Industrial Accidents In India: Recently, disaster struck at an NCL India Limited power station due to a boiler blast, according to the Times of India. In addition, an LG polymers factory owned by Visakhapatnam had a serious gas leak. Since labor laws in India are changing, experts predict more problems for Indian workers in the future, including the risk of greater incidences of industrial accidents. While technology does have the capacity to make industrial workplaces safer, occupational health and safety is still a serious concern. India’s labor leaders feel pressured to create policies that favor employers, and this is one reason why the threat of industrial accidents is growing.
More contract workers mean more risk
Most Indian companies that hire for industrial workplaces prefer to choose contract workers. They prefer these workers because there are fewer regulatory pressures associated with hiring them versus full-time, permanent employees. For example, contract workers have less recourse when they are let go from their positions. They sometimes l ack typical employment protections. In addition, they may be paid rock-bottom rates that make it hard to lead a healthy lifestyle or raise families.
Since contract workers have fewer rights, in addition to no assurance of long-term job stability, they are vulnerable members of the workforce. Turnover among contract workers is higher, and they may be more prone to accidents, especially when they are just starting out and/or doing precarious work. Employers must invest in worker’s compensation insurance due to rules set out in India’s Workmen’s Compensation Act, which went into law in 1923. This Act does provide employees with compensation when they are injured, but the rates of compensation are lower than in many other countries.
Longer work hours set the stage for accidents
Recent decisions in Maharashtra, Madhya, and Uttar Pradesh mean relaxed labor laws that don’t favor contract or full-time workers, according to The Quint. For example, it is now permissible for companies to ask their workers to put in longer hours. When employees or contract workers need to work longer-than-average shifts, they are at risk of fatigue that boosts the odds of industrial accidents.
During the pandemic, workers in India are already at risk of contracting the Coronavirus. New labor laws raise the risk of serious or perhaps even fatal workplace accidents. Employees will need to be more cautious than ever on the job, as conditions may be harsher for them in the foreseeable future.
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