It has been a year since we opened our office in Mumbai, 12 truly memorable months for the British Safety Council as an organisation and for me personally.
The launch of our India-based operation still receives a genuinely warm and positive reception, mixed with some disbelief that India was supported for far too long from London.
As is widely discussed, there is tremendous scope for the development of occupational health, safety and environment in India, which fuels our passion to make an impact and deliver the British Safety Council vision that no one should be injured or made ill at work.
One of the greatest gains since the opening of our office in Mumbai has been a significant increase in our reach through a locally-based team. The team connects with health, safety and environment professionals on a day-to-day basis and that has helped us develop a far deeper understanding of where the main issues are and what needs to change.
In this regard, some of the common themes that appear in the conversations are the need for leadership commitment, the challenges of managing a diverse workforce and how to use technology more effectively.
These are challenges that we know how to approach, having more than 60 years of experience working with occupational, health and safety practitioners in the United Kingdom and in some other countries.
Building on that understanding of local needs, we have made significant progress in tailoring our support to members. We will soon launch a Safety Leadership Group, which will provide a unique platform to leaders from our prolific member base to extend the scope of their impact beyond their organisation.
Some of our members in India are now receiving the British Safety Council’s monthly magazine Safety Management in print where before it was just digital, and, crucially, with content tailored to Indian issues and challenges. It is fair to say that they are enthused about India-specific content now being available for them.
We now have an audit and consultancy service delivered by locally-based technical experts, which helps companies to prepare for the internationally-recognised British Safety Council’s Five Star Occupational Health and Safety Audit. The team also provides bespoke solutions to the varied needs and requirements of Indian companies. The combination of local knowledge and UK-based technical expertise guarantees a unique service of high quality.
More companies and people are also applying to our International Safety Award and as a result we have created the Best in Country Award to recognise the Indian winner among the increasing number of applicants.
I could continue mentioning the work we are doing from our Mumbai office, with the knowledge, expertise and permanent support from the headquarters in London, among them participating in more local and regional events such as the Conference of Indian Industry exhibition in Pune and Mumbai recently.
We also eagerly look forward to the Occupational Health and Safety exhibition taking place in Mumbai at the end of this month, where our chief executive Mike Robinson will be a key note speaker and where we will have a stand showing our varied and tailored offer.
There is a long way ahead of us but we are confident that we are already making our mark to improve occupational health and safety in India.
Hemant Sethi is country manager India at the British Safety Council
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