Indian industrial revolution is on its way ?
Indian industrial revolution or political ambition ?
According to PIB, the Indian industrial sector contributes 29.1% of total Indian GAV at the current price in the year 2017-2018. Indian industry plays an important role in its ambition of achieving its target of becoming a USD 5 trillion Economy. Indian industrial revolution is mandatory to achieve this goal.
Indian industrial landscape consists of eight core industries that are : Refinery, Electricity, Steel, Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Cement, and Fertilizers. A point that is worth mentioning is the list of industries involved in the hazardous processes provided by DGFASLI where most of the industries that are mentioned belong to the core industries.
Indian industrial revolution is indeed more an ambition than anything else. It’s a political project above all (see our article on India Vision 2047). What is interesting is that this revolution is not really driven by technlogy but by a strong desire to be an active part of what is coming and not being a passive “laggard”.
Not only the eight core industries can benefit from connected workers technologies fueld by Indian industrial revolution but also other sectors such as construction.
Different industries, different risks
Different Industries are vulnerable to different risks at the workplace but indeed share some common risks too. To begin with, let’s talk about the steel industry. The steel industry is one of the eight core industries in India and makes sense too as steel production and consumption reflect a country’s economic development. According to IBEF, as of April 2022, India was the world’s second-largest producer of crude steel. In one of the answers given by the Ministry of Steel (yes, there is a Ministry of Steel in India!) in Lok Sabha, it is mentioned that SAIL and RINL have paid approximately Rs. 19,78,15,836 /- as compensation amount to injured persons and families of the deceased from 2011 to 2014. In the same answer, it is mentioned that steel industry faced 29 fatal and 97 non-fatal accidents in the year 2014. One of the most common causes of fatality is “Explosion & Fire”. The National Steel Policy of India aims to domestically meet the entire demand for steel. Steel industrual is a key sector for Indian industrial revolution as steel is everywhere.
Coal, a specific case
Moving ahead to coal industry, according to the Ministry of Coal (yes, there is also a Ministry of Coal in India!), India’s production of coal during 2021-22 was 778.19 million tons whereas China which is the top producer according to The Guardian report produced 4.07 billion tons in the year 2021. Safety in the workplace is a prerequisite for enhanced productivity. As per Annual Report by Coal India, CIL faced an average of 29 Fatal accidents and 73 Serious accidents in the year 2020. We cannot forget about the Chasnala mining disaster where 365 workers lost their life. Such incidents make ground-level workers skeptical about the decision-makers and create trust issues within the different verticals of the firm. It further demotivates the workers and thus productivity if the worker is drastically getting reduced.
It is worth mentioning that the Government of India in its Coal Mining Policy and Major Initiatives has put special emphasis on technological initiatives through the adoption of state of the art technologies for underground and opencast operations for higher coal production productivity and improved safety. That’s an illustration of compelling measures for Indian industrial revolution.
If we talk about the refinery sector, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, India’s refining capacity is 248.9 MMTPA which fourth largest in the world. Refinery Industry is highly vulnerable to fire, explosion, fall, etc. In a news from The Economic Times, three people were killed along with forty-four injured in a flash fire in the Indian Oil corporation Haldia refinery in the year 2021. These accidents do not only involve fatalities but also infrastructural loss to firms. Productivity loss also includes the inefficient use of natural resources. A developing country like India which has huge potential and ambition for its industrial revolution cannot afford these fault lines.
Indeed, securing worker safety is a challenge in India which has a vast geographical variation and a huge working population. The redundant safety solutions not only make this very important aspect of business activity inefficient but also reduce it to a namesake. Technological innovation has made worker safety not only feasible but also efficient. The above examples are some of the core industries in India, the scenario is somewhat the same for other sectors too.
The Fertilizer industry which is one of the most vulnerable sectors shares the same story as this sector deploys huge manpower, involved in manufacturing and handling the materials. According to The Fertilizer Association of India Safety Assessment report, between 2015 -2020 on average thirty-one injuries per year have been reported with a severity rate of 0.10. Moreover, the fatal accident frequency rate during this period was 2.00 with 2.8 casualties. The figures when seen individually are more or less the same for each year during the studied period. This shows that workers’ safety is not on as high a priority list as it should be. The same report talks about the causes of injuries and the main causes mentioned are encountering hot water/hot condensate/ steam etc. This is followed by slip & and fall and fall from height. The report further states that 40027 near-miss accidents were reported for the 2015-2020 period. In this, the unsafe conditions accounted for 77.3% of all the factors responsible for near-miss accidents.
These figures and cases mentioned are alarming but that’s not the sad part. What is sad is the fact that most of the incidents were avoidable. Thanks to Indian industrial revolution, connected worker technologies are evolving exponentially and can provide an integrated safe working environment for workers.
Connected Worker technologies to drive Indian industrial revolution
Safety at the workplace not only enhances the productivity of the labour but also keeps workers motivated too which eventually helps industries to make products at globally competitive prices and will help India to achieve its ambition.
We are living in the era of technological innovation and ensuring the safety of workers is not only achievable but affordable too. There are technologies available that not only prevent fatalities but also help in mitigating infrastructural losses.
Talking about Smart Personal Protective Equipment (smart PPE), Intellinium has developed its Safety Pod that are highly adaptable to a wide range of environments. Their high dust resistance ability makes them suitable for environments that are as difficult as open-cast mining. Further, the Man-down feature, Panic button, and Mass evacuation integrated with the central dashboard makes the working environment highly secure and stress-free.
This article has been co-written and co-documented by Priyanka DUBEY, an Indian student from IAE Aix-en-Provence. This article is the first one a series of articles about India planned to be published until mid of July 2023.