The Department of Factories and Boilers will conduct an Advanced Diploma Course in Industrial Safety from next academic year, Minister for Factories and Boilers, Pandurang Deepak Dhavalikar told the Goa Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.
Replying to the discussion on demands for grants for the department, during the ongoing budget session, Dhavalikar said that the course would be in addition to the courses currently being conducted by the department.
“The department is in the process of conducting Advanced Diploma in Industrial Safety from next academic year, which is a mandatory qualification for appointment of safety officers in factories,” Dhavalikar said.
The department also conducts a boiler attendants’ course and a boiler operations engineer examination.
Over the past year, the department conducted around 50 programmes with registration fee, on safety, first aid, and other topics and trained 1807 workers.
The department over the last one year also notified stone crushing industries as applicable under the Factories Act.
“Based on the directions of the Honourable Supreme Court of India and the National Human Rights Commission, the department has issued a notification under Section 85 of the Factories Act, 1948 making the said act applicable to stone crushing industries in the state in view of the silica dust hazards present in such industries, which is a prime cause of an occupational lung disease called silicosis,” Dhavalikar said.
In Goa, there currently are 678 registered working factories, which include 17 major accident hazard units and 123 hazardous process industries and 155 registered working boilers.
Over the current financial year, the department has scrutinised 320 applications pertaining to factory plans of new and existing factories and out of which 76 have been given approval, registered 31 new factories and granted them factory licences, carried out 221 factory and 321 boiler inspections, besides conducting health surveys in different factories through the mobile occupational health laboratory and other such activities including investigation into accidents, complaints etc.
The minister also sought vehicles of the health department due to shortage of vehicles in his own department.
“If the health department could share their vehicles with us once or twice a week, it would be helpful,” Dhavalikar said.
During the discussion on demands for grants, BJP’s St Andre MLA Vishnu Surya Wagh demanded raising the staff strength of inspectors to 25 or 30, from the present six.
He revealed startling figures which showed that the Directorate of Factories and Boilers has one inspector for 120 factories in the State. This, he said, would certainly raise question on the efficiency of officers, though the actual drawback was staff shortage.
“There are about 1050 factories registered of which 740 are functioning. To look after this we have only six inspectors, which means one for every 120 factories. The staff structure has to be worked out,” he told the House.
Wagh also demanded to increase the strength of technicians as well, and upgrade the directorate and its guesthouse, which could generate revenue to the State government. [H]