The Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals (DCPC) signed an MoU with International Labour Organisation (ILO) to adopt the International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSCs) for information dissemination to the chemical industry.
The MoU was signed in the presence of the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Chemical and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya, and Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers, New & Renewable Energy, Bhagwanth Khuba, at a seminar on ‘Safe use of Chemicals’ organised by the DCPC along with ILO and FICCI.
The International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSCs) are data sheets intended to concisely provide essential safety and health information on chemicals. The primary aim of the Cards is to promote the safe use of chemicals in the workplace. The department will use the International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSCs) to disseminate the appropriate hazard information on chemicals at the workplace in an understandable and precise way. The main users are workers and those responsible for occupational safety and health.
Speaking on the occasion Mandaviya said that workers’ safety and humane behaviour have been India’s top priority. We have accepted global best practices wholeheartedly to ensure development and welfare of our citizens. He mentioned that “chemical industry is a critical and integral part of the growing Indian economy. It occupies a vital position in meeting our basic needs, developmental needs and improving the quality of our daily lives.”
“The MoU with ILO will ensure the safety of personnel in the chemicals and petrochemicals industry,” the minister said adding that “the industry will follow these practices, and the government will monitor the implementation.”
“The MoU would seek to ensure that the workers and the chemicals sector grow together without harm and hazard”, said MoS for Chemicals and Fertilisers. He underlined that often catastrophic accidents can happen related with chemicals, mainly due to lack of proper safety measures. This calls for adhering to global safety standards and practices, he noted.
“It is crucial that international standards developed by ILO are adopted by India as this will not only mitigate industrial accidents but also ensure further alignment with global best practices,” he added.
He exhorted all stakeholders to ensure that information about not only these ICSCs but also safety regulations are conveyed adequately to the workers. He said that “Industry safety can be ensured by adhering to international standards for storage and processing, putting safest and efficient procedures, installing robust technologies in place. This can be ensured by spreading awareness and creating capacity building among workers through training sessions”.
Mandaviya urged various stakeholders including government officials, experts and industry leaders to engage in a brainstorming session. He said that such stakeholder consultations will bring out innovative ideas which can be further used as basis of future legislations and steps.
To date, 1784 Chemicals Safety Cards are available. The ICSCs are developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with cooperation of the European Commission and are regularly updated to take account of the latest scientific developments. These cards are helpful for dissemination of the appropriate hazard information on chemicals to industry associations to promote safe use of chemicals in the workplace.