The state government has taken cognisance of the frequent accidents occurring on infrastructure sites in the city and will embark on a drive to evaluate safety measures on all major city projects.
The move will come as a boon to nearly 6500 workers who risk their life and limb working on big-ticket infrastructure projects in the city including the Metro, Monorail and other flyovers. These workers stay for long periods at heights over 20 feet and handle equipment and girders over 60 tonnes in weight.
In last three years, four construction workers and four civilians have died due to accidents on such sites.
"We will visit infrastructure sites to see regulations are adhered to and will take action in case of laxity," labour secretary Kavita Gupta told HT. The state can blacklist contractors or cancel their licenses in extreme cases, if severe violations are found.
"We have to undertake massive orientation to educate workers about safety norms. Many a times, workers have themselves told me to go easy as safety equipment hinders their movement," said Gupta.
Although safety measures are encapsulated in the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, the monitoring of its implementation is lax.
Workers’ safety is supervised by third party auditors paid by the owner in charge of the project. As a result, auditors rarely pass adverse remarks against the owners. The only external supervision, that by the labour commissioner, is not conducted extensively due to limited manpower.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, under pressure to complete projects within a timeframe, seems to go easy on workers’ safety.
The Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd, on Friday, called a meeting of all its contractors including HCC, Simplex, SEW and Ahluwalia to spruce up safety measures.