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Most often than not, labourers employed in hazardous working conditions often do not use safety gear like helmets, safety nets, gloves, goggles and jackets. These safety tools are vital for protecting them from occupational disasters that could even turn fatal in some cases. A study by the International Labour Organization said 165 out of every 1,000 construction workers are injured daily in India.
Many workers have said that contractors do not provide them with any personal protective equipment. Shiva Ram, a construction worker in Bangalore, said, "He (the contractor) comes once or twice in a week and only wants the work to be completed." The workers' safety is the last priority of the contractors, Ram added.
In 2009, the Delhi Metro and Rail Corporation was bombarded with questions from media and the political community, demanding answers about the collapse of an under construction pillar. The accident claimed six lives and 13 were injured.
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi reported that around 48,000 people die at work in India every year. Seventy per cent of these deaths are those of construction workers. Joint President of Builders Association of India Sreekanth Kogala said that they only provide protective gear to workers working on large construction sites of 2 acres or more. The association does not provide equipment for smaller construction areas or buildings with a height of 30-40 metres.
Ineffective implementation of rules by the concerned authorities and breach of health and safety protocols could lead to fines and prison terms. The Department of Factories and Industrial Safety conducts checks twice every month. Deputy Secretary of Construction Board Johnson KG mentioned that the Building and Other Construction Workers Conditions of Service Act covers the provisions of law to look after the safety measures taken by the employer. He added that if the project's cost is above ₹ 25 crore, then the department officials conduct inspections and penalties are imposed for violation of rules.
The lack of an organized system of registration makes it difficult to give the workers a free safety tool kit or educate them about the required safety measures. Reports show that the unorganized market for construction workers employees nearly 8 million of them. At the same time, the unregistered workers are in crores. K Shivanna, the Secretary of All India Trade Union Congress, said "The department is not bothered as they have entrusted the contractors with the responsibility of providing safety gear to the workers. It is up to them. Ideally, whoever comes for inspection must provide the safety gear". Experts have stressed on the need for more frequent and strict inspections of construction sites to prevent such disasters.
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