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Maharashtra Govt. to provide safety kits for all registered construction site workers. -

The State Labour Department has decided to provide safety kits to registered workers across Maharashtra. Officials said the move could reduce the number of accidents on construction sites. According to Labour officials, the safety kit will include protective shoes, a dust mask, hearing protection devices, a safety helmet, hand gloves and reflective jacket, among other items. These items will be given free of cost to registered construction workers.

One such kit is estimated to cost Rs 4,000. The estimated expenditure to purchase the kits for all registered construction workers is approximately Rs. 150 crore.

“The norms about the safety of construction workers have not been followed properly. This has led to several accidents in the last few years and many construction workers have lost their lives. If proper measures were in place, those lives could have been saved,” said an official from the Labour Department. At present, there are as many as 3 lakh registered construction workers with the Maharashtra Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board. “However, there are approximately 45 lakh workers in the construction industry, and a large number of workers has not registered with us,” said the official. The department is hoping that the distribution of the safety kits would create more awareness among the workers, leading to more of them registering with the Board.

“To ensure that the safety kits reach the workers, we have asked Labour Department officials to get an acknowledgment from workers upon receiving the kit. Only then will the supplier be paid. With this, we feel that the registration of the construction workers will go up and we will able to provide facilities to them as well,” explained the official. Another official said the department would also provide an “essential items kit” to registered construction workers. This would include a plastic mat, mosquito net, a bag and water bottle, among other “essential items”. According to the Maharashtra Construction Labour Federation, more than 20 construction workers have died in the last two months in Maharashtra.

“Though it is good move, the Labour Department should rather focus on providing compensation to the workers. Providing the safety kits is the job of the owner of the building where the worker has been employed. Why is the government spending money doing the owner’s job and not taking any action against them for not providing it?” asked Shankar Pujari of the federation. He added that there have been several cases in which the government has not provided compensation to families of the workers who died at construction sites.

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