You Think – Safety is Expensive ? Try An Accident?


productmockupDuring the past 5 to 6 months, the spate of Industrial Accidents that are routinely occurring in the Chemical Industry is very disconcerting. While most of the incidents spared loss of lives whether due to luck or good emergency response measures, the one that happened in Gujarat last Friday was not so lucky with 2 people losing their lives. I have written a post on this incident in my personal Facebook page since the organisation was connected to me personally, having began my safety & environmental career 30+ years ago there for a few years before beginning my 21 year Global MNC stints. 

I am sure investigation team shall work the root cause and organisation shall work corrective measures. I see a trend of fire, explosions, in reactors, storage and handling of solvents etc. This calls for a detailed Process Safety management program of which very little is done in Indian context. I hope companies now step back and look at this. I have written few posts on this key topic few months back. 

Incidents such as this or others are classic example of difference between a Near Miss and Fatality. Same incident potential, same situations, same actions and response, but severity varies resulting in loss of lives/property in one situation vs no body got killed in other situation. Such situations in which when nothing major happened, companies tend to move on and things are all back to normal as usual without any investigation or deep down corrective measures done. 

Most of the serious accidents /Incidents happen when one or many of the systems that are put in place fails. As readers of my blog post are matured safety and other operational professional, I would let them go through the slide below to get an overview. The Human factor, the conditions, lack of adequate protection/barrier all combine to cause incident with undesired consequences. As I keep insisting, one single factor can never cause an accident and no accident has ever happened without a near-miss or a warning. 

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I am personally amazed at the technology growth that has happened in the EHS domain especially in the last decade or so. Few things look still a dream for me as a  EHS professional who began career 33 years ago. Companies shall take advantage of this technology advancement and shall put priority to prevent incidents/ accidents/ loss of life. Human life is beyond fixing a number to compensate. Organisations that Value Safety would never buck away from fulfilling their obligations with a risk based approach to safety. They are fully aware of late Dr. Trevor Kletz’s Message- “If you Think Safety is expensive ;- Try an Accident”. I am sure in coming years, this would also be a watch word in this part of the world, rather than trying to take short cuts or bribing the way to close issues and thus feeling that doing safety is for others and we can get away!! 

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I look to the comments /Thoughts. Take care, stay safe.God bless.




Author: Karthik B; Orion Transcenders. Bangalore.

Lives in Bangalore. HESS Professional of 30+ yrs experience. Global Exposure in 4 continents of over 22 years in implementation of Health, Environment, Safety, Sustainability. First batch of Environmental Engineers from 1985 Batch. Qualified for implementing Lean, 6Sigma, HR best practices integrating them in to HESS as value add to business.

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