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Occupational safety and health in industrial sector in nepal

Occupational safety and health in industrial sector in nepal

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Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal

Abstract

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

Safe and hazard free work and workplace are needed for higher productivity, efficiency, quality of any industrial process. Therefore establishing a sound ergonomic work environment in any establishment is the important aspect of industrial development. Industrial sector itself is a new one for Nepal and of course the issues pertaining to occupational safety and health are in their infant stage. Nepal has not yet ratified ILO convention No. 155 on occupational safety and health. Department of labor under the ministry of labor and transport management is the apex body in the labor administration and mainly functions in policy level. The safety and health provisions under the Labor Act, 2048 (1992), are enforced by the factory inspectors of labor office. However, the inspection and regulation of labor offices is not being sufficiently able for establishing a sound OSH condition in Nepalese industries. The international labor organization (ILO) has estimated that approximately 270 million workers meet occupational accidents and 160 million people are suffering from occupational diseases each year. Approximately 2.2 million people die of occupational accidents and diseases each year. It is estimated that each year approximately 20,000 workers meet accidents at workplace which lead to about 200 lives lost in Nepal. The inspection, record and monitoring of OSH related activities and the policy formulation and implementation are very poor in Nepal especially in industrial sector. Therefore, sufficient research, development and recording of OSH issues and their proper management is the current need of the country for establishing safe, environment friendly, and hazard free work and workplace in industrial sector in order to increase labor productivity, efficiency and overall industrial development of the country.

Keywords: occupational safety and health, workplace safety, hazards, occupational injuries, inspection, legislation, industrial safety, labor, establishments

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Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

Contents
Abstract ......................................................................................................................................................... 1 1 2 3 Introduction .......................................................................................................................................... 1 Scope and methodologies of the study ................................................................................................ 2 OSH situation in Nepal .......................................................................................................................... 3 3.1 3.2 Present labor situation in industrial sector in Nepal .................................................................... 3 Legislative provisions on OSH ....................................................................................................... 4 Problems on policies and legislation ..................................................................................... 7

3.2.1 4

Department of labor and transport management................................................................................ 8 4.1 4.2 4.3 Introduction .................................................................................................................................. 8 Labor inspection records: ............................................................................................................. 9 Trends of industrial injuries ........................................................................................................ 10

5 6

Summary ............................................................................................................................................. 12 Conclusion and recommendation ....................................................................................................... 13

REFERENCES

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Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal Er. Khumraj Pun, IOE, TU, Nepal

1

Introduction

Occupational safety and health (OSH) is the science of the anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of hazards arising in or from the workplace, and which could impair the health and well-being of workers, also taking into account the possible impact on the surrounding communities and the general environment. Although definitions of occupational safety and health may be presented in different ways, they all have the same meaning and aim at the same fundamental goal of protecting and promoting the health and well-being of workers, as well as protecting the general environment, through preventive actions in the workplace. The concept of occupational safety and health is still new to the people of Nepal. It has not been a hot agenda in labor and industrial field. When we see the present scenario, less than three percent of the total labor force of the nation is engaged in industrial sector. Industrial and service sectors are new ones and hence the issues in the sector have still not given much importance. In another hand, the high illiteracy among the workers, lack of awareness, poor performance or negligence of the authorities in implementation of OSH related policies and activities have paralyzed these issues. In addition, our level of socio- economic realities has forced us to struggle hard for wages and some minimum benefits in order to solve hand to mouth problem. Thus up to now, the OSH has not become the prior agenda for government, workers, trade unions as well as any other concerned stakeholders too. Industrial sector is place where the risk of occupational hazards might be prominent than other sectors. Industrial occupation may create unsafe work and work environment because of the inherent sources of hazards present in the material, process, technologies or products. These sources of hazard may pose the risk of accidents and disease to the people within the industrial premises and the general public in the vicinity and the environment. Safe work and work place for increase production and higher productivity is necessary and hence promotion and protection of safe work and work place is the complementary aspect of industrial development. Work is essential for life, development and personal fulfillment. Unfortunately, indispensable activities, such as food production, extraction of raw materials, manufacturing of goods, energy production and services involve processes, operations and materials which can, to a greater or lesser extent, create hazards to the health of workers and the nearby communities, as well as to the general environment. Generation and release of harmful agents in the work environment, as well as mechanical, chemical, physiological, psychosocial, physical and biological hazards can be prevented, through adequate hazard control interventions, which not only protect workers’ health but also limit the damage to the environment often associated

Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

with industrialization. If a harmful chemical is eliminated from a work process, it will neither affect the workers nor go beyond, to pollute the environment.

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Scope and methodologies of the study

Occupational Health and Safety is still fledging in Nepal. Cursory lucubration and verdant conclusions in this sector has even made the situation dismal. My intensions form this paper is to reflect and analyze the present situations of OSH in Nepal and give some prolific recommendations for the enhancement of OSH in Nepal. The primary source of data for analysis purpose is the literatures provided by 10 labor offices under the Ministry of Labor and Transportation Management, which keeps records pertaining to the OSH conditions in industrial establishments of Nepal for the past 10 years. Also supporting my case are the current Legislations and International accords effective in Nepal.

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Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal
3
3.1 OSH situation in Nepal Present labor situation in industrial sector in Nepal

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

At present it is estimated that nearly 12 million workers are engaged in employment in Nepal. Based on the classification of industry 73.9% are engaged in agriculture sector and only 26.1% are engaged in non-agriculture sector. The international labor organization (ILO) has estimated that approximately 270 million workers meet occupational accidents and 160 million people are suffering from occupational diseases each year. Approximately 2.2 million people die of occupational accidents and diseases each year. It is estimated that each year approximately 20000 workers meet accidents at workplace which lead to about 200 lives lost in Nepal 1. These losses due to these accidents and diseases at workplace are not a loss merely to the industries but physical and economic loss to the society and nation as well. In industrial sector, the major cases and causes of occupational hazards are found in following sector
• • • • • • •

Unsafe working conditions Lack of supervision and training Use of old machinery and equipment Lack of sufficient maintenance Bad house-keeping practices Violation of safety rules Over crowded production units with very congested space

High risk for safety and health has been observed in:
• • • •

Working with machine and equipment Use of electricity Building and Construction works Use of chemicals in industries

1

www.dol.gov.np

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Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

Dusty worksites 2 Legislative provisions on OSH

3.2

The concept of working conditions, occupational safety and health of the workers is quite a new concept even to the oldest industry of Nepal, although there were some studies in relation to different aspects of various industries. Only a few studies specific to working conditions in industry, including the jute industry of Nepal, have been conducted so far. Nepal has not yet ratified the ILO Convention No. 155 on Occupational Safety and Health. After the restoration of a multi-party system in Nepal, Government of Nepal has begun to pay more attention to industrial working conditions and environment by enacting and enforcing the new Labor Act, 2048 (1992). The Labor Act and its subsidiary rules, Bonus Act and rules, are the main labor laws in the country, which cover working conditions, welfare of workers, safety and health, and industrial disputes. The Labor Act contains provisions on conditions of work, workmen's compensation, leave and holidays, safety and health, minimum wage fixation and settlement of labor disputes. The coverage of the Labor Act is confined to establishments employing ten or more workers. As far as industrial estates are concerned, all establishments, irrespective of the number of workers employed by them, come within the purview of the Act. Some of the legislative provisions pertaining to the occupational safety and health are worth to be mentioned here for the reference 1. Labor act 2048 (1992) Section 5 of Chapter II of the Labor Act restricts to employ to work any minor or a woman unless otherwise prescribed during the hours between 6.00 pm and 6.00 am. Chapter III of this Act contains sections 16–20 which provide restrictions on the working hours for the worker. It limits the working hours for adults to no more than eight hours a day or forty-eight hours a week. It provides for a weekly holiday with pay and compulsory intervals of rest. It also provides overtime payment and restricts to allow workers for overtime for more than four hours a day but not exceeding twenty hours a week. Chapter V of this Act contains sections 27–36, which entirely pertain to the health and safety of workers in the establishment. They prescribe arrangements for sanitation and cleanliness, modern lavatories, disposal and destruction of waste, adequate
2

OSH In Nepal: Existing Scenario & Possibilities GEFONT Paper Prepared For OSH Training In ILO Training Organized in Turin Center, Oct 15- Nov10, 2001, Turin Italy

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Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

ventilation and lighting, and control of temperature, protection from dust, fumes and other impurities, avoidance of overcrowding in any room of the establishment, provisions for drinking water and extinguishing fire. The Act also includes the provision for medical examination of workers at least once a year in the establishment involved in processes, which are likely to cause health hazards. It provides a number of accident preventive measures, such as protection of eyes, protection against chemical hazards and fire, guarding against dangerous machinery, prohibition on lifting a heavy load, and safety measures for pressure plants. A provision has been made for compulsory notice of any kind of accident or disease. In this Act, the powers of the Factory Inspector have been enhanced by vesting him with powers to collect samples of any products and semifinished products, as well as any material being used that may cause harm to the workers or damage their health. The Labor Act has made it obligatory on the part of the establishment management to inform the Labor Office in a prescribed manner before erecting or establishing or expanding an establishment on any land or in any house. The Labor Office may issue orders to close down unsecured parts of the establishment, plant or machinery. Factory Inspectors have been assigned responsibility to ensure that the building, machinery and manufacturing processes are safe for workers. Violations of these provisions are punishable with fines. 3 2. Present 3-year interim plan (2064-2067) Present interim plan has set some strategic programs and visions to make workplace safe, healthy and productive by promoting and developing occupational safety and health as an integral part of all the industrial enterprises and workplaces. Government of Nepal allocates about 20 million rupees annual budget for occupational safety and health project. Occupational Safety and Health Project sets following programs to be implemented as the integral part of the project. • Training program on occupational safety and health for social partners. • Capacity enhancement training program for officers affiliated with occupational safety and health. • Orientation program for employers. • Awareness enhancement programs on industrial accidents. • Educational program on HIV/AIDS and STDs at work places. • Labor education programs.

3

Nepal Government, 2048 (1992), “The Labor Act 2048”

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Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

• Factory inspection, monitoring and evaluation strengthening programs 4. 3. ILO convention On safety and health as in other fields, the ILO adopts two main types of standard: Conventions (which are ratifiable and binding) and Recommendations (more detailed, often supplementing a Convention). Currently, there are more than seventy ILO Conventions mainly or partly related to questions of safety and health. Many others deal with matters that are also clearly relevant to the safety and health agenda–for example, freedom of association, collective bargaining, labor inspection, gender equality and child labor. ILO health and safety standards cover four main categories: • Guiding policies for action: These include the Occupational Safety and Health Convention (No. 155) and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 164), which prescribe the progressive application of comprehensive preventive measures and the adoption of a coherent national policy on occupational safety and health. They also establish the responsibility of employers for making work and equipment safe and without risk to health, as well as the duties and rights of workers. Further prominent examples are the Occupational Health Services Convention (No. 161) and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 171), and the List of Occupational Diseases Recommendation (No. 194). • Sectors: Some of the most hazardous sectors are covered by specific Conventions - for example, mining, construction and dock work. An important recent addition is Convention No. 184 on Safety and Health in Agriculture, adopted in 2001 together with the accompanying Recommendation No. 192. • Specific risks affecting more than one sector: For example, Chemicals, ionizing radiation, benzene, asbestos, occupational cancer, air pollution, noise and vibration. • Protection measures: For example, the guarding of machinery and medical examination of young workers or the maximum weight of loads to be transported by one worker.
4

Nepal Government, “3-year interim Development Plan (2064-2067)”

6

Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

In addition, the ILO has issued more than thirty Codes of Practice on occupational health and safety. These are intended as practical guides for public authorities and services, employers and workers concerned, specialized protection and prevention bodies, enterprises and safety and health committees. Codes of Practice are not legally binding instruments and do not aim to replace the provisions of national laws or regulations, or accepted standards. However, Nepal has not yet ratified the ILO Convention No. 155 on Occupational Safety and Health. 5 4. Interim constitution on Nepal 2007 The interim constitution of Nepal incorporates several provisions concerning labor matters, which form the foundation of labor administration in the country. These include inter alia prohibition of slavery and forced labor, freedom of assembly, association and speech, freedom of trade, business, and profession, right of equality, promotion of social justice and economic well- being of the people, and eradication of social evils. 6 3.2.1 Problems on policies and legislation The national policy and legislation are not adequate although it has been recognized that the workforce is the most important segment of the social structure. Stability in the society is possible only when the organized industrial labor is given its due attention. Occupational safety and health provisions of the Labor Act do not cover all important sectors of establishments that pose serious hazards, such as agriculture and forestry. These sectors are also substantially labor-intensive. The legislative measures for occupational safety and health are not applicable to small units employing less than ten workers outside the industrial estates. It has been recognized that the Safety Committee ILO, “General Survey Concerning The Occupational Safety And Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155), The Occupational Safety And Health Recommendation, 1981 (No. 164), And The Protocol Of 2002 To The Occupational Safety And Health Convention, 1981”, International Labor Conference ,98th Session, 2009 Report III (Part 1B)
5

6

Vaidya, Mr. S.N., “Occupational Safety And Health Situation In Nepal”, Department Of Labor And Employment Promotion, Kathmandu, Nepal

7

Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

can play a vital role in taking steps to prevent industrial accidents and injuries and promote occupational safety and health in the establishment. But in the legislation, at present, there is no provision for a Safety Committee to be constituted in an establishment. Similarly, there is no provision for the appointment of a Safety Officer in an establishment. There are no overlapping responsibilities in implementing the OSH provisions, but there is an urgent need for coordination and cooperation among the concerned line ministries to implement the current OSH provisions of the Labor Act effectively. The Labor Act, 1992 spells out various safety measures for the workers of the industrial establishments, and it also vests the Labor Office with powers to issue necessary orders for the installation of safety devices against potential hazards to eyes, chemical exposure, fire, and against risks of heavy machinery operation etc. in the concerned establishment. Events of death or injuries disabling the workers and employees to work more than 48 hours due to an accident in the factory or otherwise are to be reported to the concerned Labor Office within 3 days. In case of illness caused by the profession, such cases should also be reported to the Labor Office within 7 days of knowing the illness. The law, however, does not stipulate on the identification of the liability of medical treatment. There is no national surveillance system of health services for industrial workers who are suffering from occupational diseases in Nepal.

4
4.1

Department of labor and transport management Introduction

The Ministry of Labor and Transport Management is the apex body in the labor administration and mainly functions at the policy level. The Department of Labor established in 1971 is responsible for matters related to labor administration. Under the Ministry of Labor and Transport Management, the Department of Labor and Employment Promotion is responsible for occupational safety, health and working conditions. There is no separate section or branch for safety and health in the ministry, but under the Secretary, a Joint Secretary (Tech) and an Under-Secretary (Tech) administer the work related to occupational safety and health. Matters relating to the safety and health of workers are the overall responsibility of the Inspection and Manpower Section of the Department of Labor and Employment Promotion. Under the Director General, Director (Tech) administers the works of occupational safety and health. The safety and health provisions under the Labor Act, 2048 (1992), are enforced by the Factory Inspectors of Labor Office.

8

Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal
Table: labor law enforcement team structure 7
Location Kathmandu Biratnagar Birgunj Hetauda Bhadrapur Butwal Pokhara Janakpur Nepalgunj Dhangadhi Jurisdiction Bagmati zone Koshi zone Bara, Parsa, Rauthat districts Makawanpur and Chitwan districts Mechi zone Lumbini & Rapti zone Gandaki & Dhaulagiri Zones Janakpur & Sagarmatha zones Bheri and Karnali Zones Seti & Mahakali zones Senior factory inspector senior labor officer senior labor officer

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

Number of officers factory inspector factory inspector factory inspector factory inspector factory inspector factory inspector factory inspector factory inspector factory inspector labor officer

The safety and health provisions under the Labor Act are enforced by the Factory Inspector of the Labor Offices. The Factory Inspector of the Labor Office carries out his activities and performs functions in order to regulate the provisions of the Act to promote occupational safety and health conditions in the establishments within his jurisdiction. Similarly in order to watch out the irregularities in this connection, Factory Inspector inspects the establishment regularly and issues notices to defaulting employers suggesting improvements and, in case of not following the instruction mentioned in the notice to improve the safety and health condition, the employers are prosecuted. There are altogether 90 supporting staff in the Labor Offices. 4.2 Labor inspection records:

The number of inspections at establishments has been found quite inadequate. Besides, a large number of establishments operating in districts have not been recorded in the inspection register. The available database shows the following picture in the formal sector of work in Nepal

Government of Nepal, (2066), “Sanchhipta Parichaya”, Department Of Labor, Ministry of Labor and Transport Management

7

9

Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal
Table: factory inspection basic statistics 8
particulars number of establishments Number of workers Number of inspections made 2058/59 3617 359373 1581 2059/60 3630 307536 1515 2060/61 3473 306430 1131 2061/62 3514 310900 992 2062/63 3425 310145 699

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

2063/64 3578 311069 959

2064/65 N/A N/A N/A

2065/66 3599 313190 1138

4.3

Trends of industrial injuries8

particulars number of establishments Number of workers Number of accidents fatal serious minor

2058/59 3617 359373 46 6 23 17

2059/60 3630 307536 36 6 16 14

2060/61 3473 306430 39 6 17 16

2061/62 3514 310900 38 10 12 16

2062/63 3425 310145 33 6 12 15

2063/64 3578 311069 50 13 18 19

2064/65 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

2065/66 3599 313190 68 13 12 43

An occupational accident in the establishment is quite a common phenomenon. Most of the accidents are related to finger, hand, head, eye, and palm and leg injuries. Occupational accidents seem to be nominal, but this cannot be taken as the actual situation as many accidents are not reported, although reporting of any type of accident is mandatory. There is a legal provision of notifying the concerned Labor Office about the fatal accidents or any other accident which causes man-day losses. Practically this part has not been effective, thus the Labor Offices have been asked to be vigilant and pay more attention to such reported and unreported industrial accidents and to take serious notice of violations of the legal provisions. The causes of accidents are varied but the major causes are lack of training, emotional stage of the workers, lack of supervision, use of old or outdated machine or equipment, poor layout,
8

Shrestha, Er.Damoder, Department Of Labor, Ministry Of Labor and Transport Management, Kathmandu, Nepal.

10

Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

congested workplaces, violation of safety rules and unsuitable working conditions. Similarly, there is no concession of any kind for installing safety and health devices to replace worn out and unsafe machinery or to provide occupational health diagnosis and treatment facilities in the industries. As far as safety measures adopted by the establishments to avoid accidents are concerned, they are limited to supervision from time to time, regular repair and maintenance of tools, equipment and machinery and providing necessary safety equipment, such as goggles, boots, gloves, etc. It is assumed that there are many unreported accidents. Data on occupational diseases are not available at present. As the current coverage of the Labor Law is limited to establishments with ten or more workers and those located within the industrial estates, the magnitude of the problems of occupational safety and health (OSH) is much higher than statistics show. The under-reporting of occupational accidents is also attributed to very low awareness of OSH among management and workers in general.

11

Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal
5
Summary

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

Occupational safety and health is still in crawling phase in Nepal. After the establishment of labor department in 2028 B.S., the long time has been passed away, but, the OSH situation in industrial as well as other sectors could not be the major issue of anyone. The concerned bodies like government, labor administration authorities and trade unions are engaged in the disputes other than OSH. Due to lack of awareness and high illiteracy rate among the workers, they are totally aloof in the OSH issues. Although, some legislative guidelines have been enacted such as Labor Act, 2048, Trade Union Act, 2049, National Labor Policy, 2056 etc., their implementation and regulation in the pragmatic condition is merely tenuous. Nepal has not yet ratified ILO convention No. 155 on occupational safety and health. Labor department under the ministry of Labor and Transport Management is the apex body in the labor administration. Factory inspectors of labor office carry out their activities and perform function in order to regulate provisions of labor act 2048 to promote OSH condition in establishments. They inspect the establishments and keep the records pertaining to work and workplace situation. It is assumed that there are many unreported accidents and hazardous incidents which are either hidden by concerned establishments or not inspected by factory inspectors properly. It can be seen from past records that number of labors in informal sector is in increasing trend. So, they also should be brought inside the frame of labor administration and there should a national surveillance system of health services for industrial workers who are suffering from occupational diseases.

12

Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal
6
Conclusion and recommendation

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

The promotion towards the sound occupational safety and health environment in Nepalese industries is showing reluctance because of different barriers as follows: • Lack of knowledge and awareness among workers • Lack of awareness and commitment in employers and management • Fear of change and of cost increase (Management) • Poor consultation system • Majority of untrained people both in management and labor • No safety-friendly work culture (both workers & management) • Lack of research and data-base on occupational diseases and health hazards There are some provisions related to OSH in policy level, but unfortunately, the provisions are not much effective in practice and still need a lot of awareness campaign and effort. Factories have never taken care of minimum OSH standards provisioned in the law. Weak labor administration and ineffective enforcement mechanism of the government needs a boosting improvement in order to build the capacity to control the situation. Though, achieving zero accident situations may not become possible for industrial sector, exemplary safety records can be achieved. The industrial sector can be made better with healthy human resource, more efficient work, fewer fatalities and lower environmental impacts through applying following strategies in every industry: • Developing training modules, formal training and orientation • Formation and mobilization of safety committees in each workplace and enterprises • Periodic situational survey, hazard analysis and pre-project planning for safety • Safety incentive programs • Minimum employ turnover • Involvement of top management in safety issues • Sound industrial relation • Sincere implementation of collective bargaining agreements • Sound inspection form labor administration Similarly, the concerned stake holders such as government, trade unions and NGOs or INGOs concerning to the occupational safety and health should be active in the following activities:

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Occupational safety and health situation in industrial sector in Nepal
• • • • • • •

Er. Khumraj Pun (Industrial Engineer) IOE, TU, Nepal

Partnership among trade unions, employers and government for training programs on OSH. Research for problem identification Awareness program for safe and clean workplace and healthy life Implementing partnership with employers for sound workplace management Pressurizing for waste and sewage management Joining hands with international Agencies like ILO for works in cooperation on OSH Cooperation with genuine NGOs on the issue of OSH and environment THANK YOU

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