Importance of Occupational Health, Safety & Environmental Practices

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Our Correspondence of The Maritime Economy Publications spoke to Mr. Prabhat KumarVice President - HSEQ / Naval Arch of Leela Group of Ship Recycling Yards about the Importance of Occupational HSE Practices.

Mr. Prabhat Kumar has a combined professional experience of about 15.5 years in Ship Recycling Industry in India and Marine and Offshore Industry in Singapore.

He has completed his MBA in Oil and Gas from UPES, Dehradun; PGD in Industrial Safety Management from GJUST, Haryana; B Tech in Naval Architecture and Ship Building from CUSAT, Kerala; and currently pursuing PGD in Learning and Development from ISTD, Delhi.

He is a Chartered Engineer (India), Lead Auditors for ISO 45001:2018 and ISO 14001:2015 and have various other prominent licenses and certifications. He is also actively involved in various CSR related activities for human as well as animal welfare.

About Leela Worldwide:

Leela Worldwide is a prominent business house of Gujarat, with diverse interests in Ship Recycling, Trading of Ships, Real Estate, Hospitality, Diamond jewellery and Electronic - Print Media.  The diversified Group is captained by Mr. Komalkant F. Sharma, the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD).

It operates 4 (four) ship recycling yards in Alang, India. The Ship recycling division is headed by his son-in-law, Mr. Vishaal Raj Soni, CEO. He leads the green ship recycling which is guided by Mr Prabhat Kumar, VP-HSEQ/Naval Arch along with his experienced and well qualified team of HSE professionals and naval architects.

Leela ship recycling yards are in compliance with latest ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, ISO 30000:2009 and ISO 45001:2018 standards by renowned third parties such as ABS (USA), LRQA (UK), BV (France) and IR Class (India); HKC compliance by ClassNK (Japan) and LRQA(UK); EUSRR compliance by IRClass (India) and LRQA(UK).

Leela Worldwide provides scholarship in the primary school (in Alang), in which mostly workers’ kids are studying, and also provides continuous support for all their needs. Its volunteers regularly arrange teaching classes, trainings and other events with the school-kids. It is also working to promote adult education and Financial literacy Program with the help of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India. It is striving to create awareness about the ecosystem including animals and birds.

It is a corporate member of National Safety Council (NSC), India and The Royal Institute of Naval Architects (RINA), UK and have won Seatrade Maritime Asia-CSR Award 2019 and have been finalist in various competitions at international level.

Leela Worldwide has a vision not only to be the best-chosen partner for all its businesses but also to uplift the living standards of current and future generation.

Question: Importance and need of a sound HSE policy for the ship recycling Industry?

Our world economy and society are now interconnected by the communications technology. The positive impact of human behaviors and technologies may directly or indirectly influence the actions of many others in the same industry or other industries. For example, Implementation of QR code for suggestions/complain in our organization has influenced many in the ship recycling industry and other industries to use QR code for their programs such as detail of daily permit systems, location/detail on google maps, local shops/restaurant menu for displaying the pricelist, etc.

A well written HSE policy will help an organization to set up rules, principles, guidelines or frameworks to achieve long term goals. Actions taken by following a sound HSE policy in one organization may lead to positive safety culture at the global level. It will help to set a benchmark for not only existing companies but also to the newcomers in the industry.

A sound HSE policy will also help to upgrade the social lives of all the stakeholders.

Question: Tell us about Government Policies / Regulations regarding HSE practices?

Recycling of Ships Act 2019, India to provide for the regulation of recycling of ships by setting standards in line with the international standards and laying down the statutory mechanism for enforcement of such standards will help to ensure that the industry does not pose any unnecessary risk to the environment and to human health and safety.

In line with the Indian Finance Minister announcement in Parliament in 2021 to double the ship recycling capacity by 2024, various efforts have been made to bring more ships to India for recycling. This is expected to generate an additional 1.5 lakh jobs for our youth.

Question: What is the role of HSE Team / division / department including Naval Architects?

The HSE department including naval architect plays the key role in the ship recycling from purchase of the ship to the completion of the ship recycling.

At the time of bidding, the role of HSE department including naval architect starts from the preparation of Ship Recycling Plan (SRP). The SRP includes the methodology how waste (particular to the ship, which is being purchased) will be handled and the cutting plan, how ship will be dismantled safety.

All the necessary permission related to the ship beaching, oil removal, cutting, etc. are obtained from regulatory by HSE department. HSE department ensure the proper permit system for all the ship recycling related activities and continuously monitor them with the help of supervisors.

HSE department in ship recycling industry help to train the workforce internally and liaise with external trainers for the necessary trainings.

HSE department ensure the preventive maintenance of all the equipment, their certification and timely repair in case of breakdown.

HSE department also ensure the medical surveillance of the workforce. HSE department liaise with regulatory authorities as well as with auditors to ensure the compliance with local, national and international regulations.

HSE department, being very close to the work force, takes various initiatives for their welfare.

Question: Best HSE practices at workplaces?

Some of the best HSE practices, which we follow in the ship recycling industry

  1. Digital or QR code for the stakeholder suggestions/complain. QR code can be scanned and the feedback can be given from anywhere in the world.
  2. Use of bio-degradable bags for the handling of waste.
  3. Use of 3 ways gas torch instead of using 2 ways gas torch. 3 ways gas cutting torch has given better result in terms of safety and productivity.
  4. Display of incident details, policies (in working language), safety committee meeting, etc. can help to increase the awareness.
  5. Incentives for safe working practices followed by workers such as best worker awards, etc.
  6. Encouragement to stop work and report to immediate supervisors, when it may risk to health, safety and environment.
  7. Encouragement for highlighting near misses.
  8. Provision of accommodation for the workers in the labor colony and the dedicated buses to pick and send them back from work locations.
  9. Adult learning program and financial literacy program to facilitate the non-literate learners to read, write and their financial awareness, as we conduct them with the help of Tata Consultancy Services, TCS.
  10. Use of digital social media platforms to promote the best HSE practices regularly help to guide other companies
  11. Use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at ship and in the yard.
  12. Use of cranes, with higher capacities to transfer blocks from ship to intertidal zone directly.
  13. Use of slag collectors to prevent slags to fall into the sea/intertidal zone.
  14. Organizing various CSR programs such as blood camps, Annual games to help in team bonding and motivate the workforce to work harder to achieve company goals.
  15. Daily tool box talk before starting any work in the yard and team briefing before any particular job is carried out.

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