Year : 2018  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-

Mini occupational health services for un-organized labor markets in India

Ganesh K Kulkarni 
 Editor – IJOEMOccupational Health Consultant, Thane (W), Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ganesh K Kulkarni
Occupational Health Consultant, Chesnut Plaza, Shop No. 16, Second Floor, Opp. Endenwoods, B. Nathpai Marg, Thane - 400 610, Maharashtra

How to cite this article:
Kulkarni GK. Mini occupational health services for un-organized labor markets in India.Indian J Occup Environ Med 2018;22:1-1

How to cite this URL:
Kulkarni GK. Mini occupational health services for un-organized labor markets in India. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2018 [cited 2023 Apr 1 ];22:1-1
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Full Text

India is a vast country with a total workforce of 537 million of which only 29 million are in the organized sector and the remaining in the un-organized sector. The Indian Association of Occupational Health (IAOH), Mumbai, had initiated a project to implement BOHS in the un-organized labor market in Mumbai with an NGO partner keenly working for un-organized migrant labor health, safety, and social welfare. The objective was to understand the occupational profile of informal sector workers, their occupational risks, and safety concerns and to determine BOHS interventions that IAOH can implement jointly with the partner NGO in the region. The walkthrough survey surprisingly brought many unlisted occupations such as small-factory-like units, light manufacturing, assembly of machine parts, scrap work, e-waste, printing, cutting, tailoring, and construction naka workers seeking casual construction work in the un-organized labor market. The workforce comprised mostly of seasonal migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Telangana, West Bengal, and Rajasthan employed in informal work. Apart from unlisted occupations, the survey highlighted multiple unsafe conditions such as risky jobs in small confined spaces, unsafe handling and storage of chemicals, lack of basic first aid, no vaccination protection against tetanus and hepatitis B, no access to formal health services and social security, lack of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, loss of limb and frequent injuries, and long working hours. Our interaction with local diversified labor groups sheds light on issues and challenges such as rehabilitation and disability, employer awareness, motivations and conflicting interests, local political interests and influences, and psycho-social and cultural aspects. We were also able to understand the need to identify credible NGO partners in the process.

This changed our thought process that BOHS elements cannot be implemented in such an un-organized labor market and one needs to think of simpler, practical, and pragmatic solutions. This led to the genesis of a newer concept of “mini occupational health services or MOHS.” The deliverables in MOHS will be as follows: basic first-aid training, first-aid kits with defined contents for each small-scale unit, protection against tetanus through vaccinations, blood group identification and provision of low-cost pragmatic and affordable safety solutions in addition to partnering with credible NGOs for operations, and creating employer motivation and responding to conflict situations, if any. The IAOH project team of the Mumbai branch has rolled out the first phase of MOHS in a labor market in Mumbai since April 2017 and the results are encouraging—employers participated with employees in first-aid training and procuring utility first-aid kits for their respective units. Phase 2 shall be focused at preventive vaccination and blood grouping, and phase 3 shall drive pragmatic safety solutions. The project team is aware that many other branches of IAOH are planning to drive MOHS in their respective areas to cater to un-organized labor markets. I trust this initiative shall trigger new ideas to innovate MOHS in India in the years to come.