Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Safety at Site!








“The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.” …Tacitus.

A Roman Senator & historian by himself above words of the Greek writer should be an eye opener for all the enterprises in our country where value of human life is far below than many other commodities is a bitter truth! Open any news paper & you will find death & destruction on all pages, may it be road accidents or landslides or a blast of boiler in any factory or falling of a labor from height; people die or get handicapped for their life every day here! Especially in construction industry where safety norms are there but rarely followed percentage of accidents is much more. One such incident at my own site triggered me to share my thoughts as my own engineer ordered few unskilled labors to remove some roofing sheets from a shade & one of the labor fall down & got his leg fractured. Fortunately the damage wasn’t much & a leg in plaster with minor operation the guy will be back on his feet is what doctor said though taking this as a lesson I called the concerned engineer for in depth investigation of what has happened actually as this is failure for our system & every failure has to be analyzed if you want to avoid one in future, is what I always think!

When I summoned the engineer to office & asked then some really surprising things came in light! First the labors were not skilled one whom he instructed to do the job i.e. they were ground workers used to do excavation & material shifting type works & not to climb on roof, though the shed was hardly ten feet height! Second, as they are never used to safety belts so they didn’t used the safety belts neither the engineer insisted considering its lesser height. Third  thing the engineer forget that asbestos sheets are never removed from top but from bottom as they are not supposed to take any load & surely not point load like a person standing on them! Fourth is he should have used the fabricator contractor's people who are trained for this type of job which would have avoided the accident which fortunately wasn’t fatal!

But the incident made me think about the scene in our industry as one single negligent act can bring death & all the unhappy things along with it & yet many of us doesn’t realize it & the show is going on sheer luck! It’s important that any accident which is fatal for life or cause any permanent damage to the person involved, is not only disaster for the victim’s family but it attracts lots of unpleasant things towards the project which includes financial damage as well work delays. Right from negative publicity too attracting agencies like police & labor welfare & self declared labor union leaders too, all get behind the builder & we all know their motive & outcome of such involvement. So it’s high time that as an owner or builder whatever you call but the top bosses in real estate must take the accident thing seriously. And for that let’s understand the scene as well what kind of accidents happens usually & the reasons behind them!

First & foremost is data of all these accidents which really is a difficult task as most of the time each involved party tries to hush up the incidence & I can understand very well the reason behind hushing up. Yet whatever comes in day light can be recorded & used as case study, here developer's associations like CREDAI & MBVA can work in hand with Govt agencies for data collection provided it’s not being used for wrong purpose! Most of the time its negligence or over confidence of the supervisory staff so first & foremost is an ongoing training to all site technical as well engineering staff is a must. As happened in my case the engineers or supervisors need to understand importance of using skilled personnel for particular jobs & they themselves should know what safety in first place is! As safety doesn’t mean just wearing helmet or wearing safety belts around; but safety means understanding the way to do a job with proper workmanship! So first step is utilizing right men & right equipments for each job which will avoid accidents by unskilled personnel’s, as you can’t blame a excavation worker if he fail down from top if you make him work at heights as he is not used to heights! Same way if you use a carpenter to dig drainage lines or for foundation excavation, then he won’t be able to do it & will end up falling himself in the pit or injure someone around while using his digging equipments! Similarly one major cause of accidents is poor maintenance of site equipments right from tile cutter too temporary lifts too cranes. For every instrument there has to be a maintenance contract & all the electrical connections should be regularly checked for the same!

One more cause of accidents is wrong way of erecting scaffolding for plaster from outside or weak support structure for casting slabs. This has to be done by trained people & under proper supervision only. Here is where a safety manual plays very vital role as the person supervising the wok may change but the norms should remain same!
Then comes the training every single person at work site for making the staff aware of individual’s role in safety & make them understand safety is not in any single persons control but we all together only can achieve it! As no person should move around without helmet & safety belts are a must for any height above average human height i.e. 7 ft! And these thing need not required to be told by your site supervisors but you should demand it on site before start of work every day, such should be the training! And it doesn’t end to just helmets of safety belts but right from safety shoes to proper clothing everything matters as loose clothes are major clause of accidents at many places as they can get caught fire or get in any moving part of the site machinery. Same way those who are working on scaffolding shouldn’t wear safety shoes as the shoes tends to slip from the pipes or wooden supports & these things should be impregnated in the minds of every person on site! Another major cause of site accidents is consumption of alcohol at work which surely leads to accident as a person under influence of alcohol doesn’t have control on his physical moments! So the supervisors should ensure that any person entering in work area isn’t drunk or under influence of any kind of intake. Best way we have used at site is we have trained our security watchmen & they search every person for tobacco or that type material & it has to be deposited at entrance & the worker can take it along while leaving the site. While working at higher floors barricading any external edge is a must as well having safety nets in proper place along.

Site labors accommodation is one more zone where accidents frequently happen & few points’ needs to be checked up while building the labor hutments. It should not be abutting any compound wall as many incidences have been there where the wall has collapsed on the hutments & taking lives of workers. Second is it should not be near any natural water flow path or in low laying area to avoid causalities in rainy season by flooding. Then the wiring needs to be properly done for electric supply as most of these hutments are of GI sheets & electric current immediately flows through the same causing fire as well short circuit. Also the children must be kept away from the work area & a creche is a must on any site however small it may be. As small children are very much susceptible to accidents on site i.e. falling from heights or falling some object over them are some common reasons of accidents where children are involved. Even their parents can work with free mind if they know that their kids are safe at work place!  The basic first aid kit as well fire fighting equipments must be stored in a separate shade near labor camp & board displaying all emergency numbers also must be there, so in case anything goes wrong the people should know whom to contact!

Another neglected aspect is labor toilets & their drinking water arrangements. Many might wonder what this has related to safety but do mind safety doesn’t mean just protecting the site staff from accidents but good hygiene is equally important & most of the diseases or epidemic spread via water only. So a clean & healthy water supply for the site workers is very much important in this context. We can also arrange routine health checkups for the site labors & if the site is small then we can ask surrounding ongoing project developers to join the hands for this cause. In Dubai there is surveillance from air via Helicopters to check the site conditions of working labors & arrangements made for them & if found guilty heavy penalties are charged! The local authorities also should have a check list mutually made with help of developers & can check the same periodically! And group labor insurance is also advisable as in case something goes wrong then there is financial aid available via insurance.

On the top of all this, there has to be a periodical safety audit of the site & in spite taking all precautions somewhere in routine people become over confident & which leads to negligence; so a surprise cross checking of the safety systems by third party does help! Last but not least all these efforts perspective clients do notice is my experience & can be a marketing tool also! Because, a developer who is taking proper care of his labors, imagine what he will do for his clients; is a smart aspect of these good deeds from the eyes of a customer. And needless to say a safe work environment always gives more yields because the workers also can work with free mind without worrying for their safety! And all this has to be filter from top to bottom as remember safety starts from head & travel downwards because safety is an attitude & not just action! 

--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
(Click the links below)

http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2015/06/agreement-ho-gaya-rabba-rabba-permanent.html


http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

http://www.punecorporation.org/GRS/Complaint/LaunchComplaintCitizen.aspx


Think Green, Think Life


www.sanjeevanideve.com

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Making the Smart City dream a reality!











“You take delight not in a city's seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.” … Italo Calvino.

Calvino was an Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the book “Invisible Cities’ & in so perfect words he has described what a citizen expects from the city they live in! Pune city especially PMC i.e. our governing public body always gives me surprises & very rarely does they turn out pleasant for me & on one such is when I read the news about competition PMC announced for the citizen for sharing their ideas about Smart City, they want to be! The topics were as follows & going a step ahead PMC has appealed that citizens can add also the topics which they feel needed to be included in above list! Now it’s up to citizens to respond as smart city can be made only by the participation & understanding of the concept by the citizens! Here are the topics published by PMC…
Topics That You Can Write on



1) Affordable Housing
2)     Citizen Participation
3)       Education
4)        Electricity
5)   Environment
6)   Garbage Management
7)       Governance
8)   IT connectivity and digitization
9)   Health
10) Solar Power
11) Toilets and Sanitation
12)   Traffic management
13) Water Supply
 As a citizen & an engineer with construction as my profession & the subject is very close to my business i.e. real estate, here is something I thought of my views about my Smart City…

1. Affordable Housing.

Well I think for any city first job is to provide the citizens a decent home & affordable to them. Affordable means not cheap which is unfortunately considered so in our country. Affordable is a multidimensional term, to me it means not just on the price part but entire life time maintenance front also. And we have different income groups as well life styles so the homes also should be affordable according to all such classes of the society. In the DP there should be reservation for affordable housing with special FSI as well norm of the homes designing in this zone also should be fixed. The planning as well design should be in standard pattern & PMC can auction these reservations in open tender so the developer will sale them to PMC at a fix rate & then PMC can allot to the needy people & rest FSI developer can use it at his will yet not to be sold above a certain price in open market! Here the entire infrastructure including arrangement of public transport too drainage treatment plants should be provided by the developer only. There won’t be any premiums but all should be adjusted against the numbers of home PMC getting. These zones can be planned all around the city especially in new merged villages.

2. Citizen Participation
By declaring this competition PMC has already taken first step in citizen participation, what’s important is what happened to the outcome of such participation? What’s need is make a separate cell for data collection of all such suggestions from citizens’ participation & giving them feedback about what happened to the same! As many people prefer to keep away as they think whatever they suggests goes to drain! So keeping people in loop not just for sake of the suggestions they give isn’t important but the action on those suggestions needs to be delivered to the concerned then only people will come forward for participation with PMC or any public body. Provide a full time available person for this & team trained in communication!
Start an award for best citizen of the year for the person who has contributed most in making the city a better place by his acts in whatever field it may be & we can have categories in this. And see that the award is been given without any partiality!

3. Education
Most neglected front in front of all popular needs of the city like water & traffic; the tag line “padhega India tabhi to badhega India” is just for advertisement! Visit any PMC school & see the scene & you will know why no sane parents send their kids here. Rather ask any of “mananiya” i.e. elected members or class one officers of PMC where their kids goes for schooling & you will get the answer what situation PMC schools are in! First thing make a role model school on infrastructure & then make a plan for converting all the PMC schools as per role model. Also make it compulsory for PMC election nomination that the kids must be in PMC School only. Similarly this criteria must be considered while giving promotions or writing CR’s i.e. confidential reports of every PMC employee! That will make all of them to pay more attention towards their responsibility on school as well education front. Also give tax benefit for those whose kids are in PMC schools! Make business houses as well corporate companies to adopt each school & the adoption must not be only funding but their employees should mix amongst the teachers as well students of this school so they also can benefit with such exposure of outer world! As to make good students you need good teachers first & for that constant training of teachers is a must!

4. Electricity
Again good that the city civic body accepted that power supply is their responsibility also & not just MSEB”s i.e. MSEDCL’s! First of all sit with MSEDCL officers & work out city power need present as well future. And then jointly mark all the infrastructural provisions like transformer, receiving stations, cable sizes & their paths. In coming years we will have more battery operated vehicles which will need charging so the charging stations as well their power requirement also should be considered. Public parking places can be made as public vehicle charging stations too! At the same times try to consider use of alternate sources of power generation like solar or gas to reduce conventional energy use.

5. Environment
Actually Environment comes in every field so instead making it separate front make every aspect right from Education too Governance environment savvy. And for that most important is making every individual aware about his role towards environment. Remember no environment can be conserved by effort of one department of industry or NGO but each of our efforts are going to matter. So make agenda of every city front accordingly that’s what will work instead treating environment as individual front!

6. Garbage Management
Carrot & stick is the only way. Stop lifting wet garbage from the societies where vermiculture NOC has been given or was a criterion while giving completion. Make a garbage generation as well collection measuring scale of every ward, road or society & monitor it. Right now we don’t know how much & what type of garbage is generated from which locality because there is no scale or record. Unless we don’t know how much volume is to be monitored how we are going to monitor it?
Shut down all the open garbage beans on roads & make a separate design for the same as this flooding garbage on road from the beans is shame of city face! Let’s take a design competition for garbage beans. And the monitor it as presently there is no time table at any public garbage bean to when empty it; so mark a electronic board near it like timing of next train coming on platform is displayed! Make business houses adopt garbage beans & allow them advertize the same as well if any company is buying the garbage allow them so by open tender! Similarly small garbage treatment plants in every ward is a must & reserve places in the DP for same & see that its designed in such way that there is no nuiscense to adjoining areas but with proper landscaping it can be turned in beauty spot.
Arrange school trips of every school in our city rather make it part of their syllabus, to the existing garbage depot so every kid will know the seriousness of this problem & will understand his role also in fighting the same!

7. Governance
This is the weakest link of entire system as nobody believes in governance of PMC is a bitter truth! First thing is make citizens believe in PMC & for that we need to make everything transparent to the public! Make an app on mobile by which entire system right from PMC Commissioner to a mukadam at ward office, with information about whose job is what type data available & their contacts. Presently no one knows who is responsible for what & that make people distrust on PMC’s governance! And then action taken against every law breaker has to be transparent as well impartial. There has to be a mechanism which will ensure all are same in governance.
Make every department staff work for some time span in other department to make them understand importance as well working of other departments.

8. IT connectivity and digitization
Make a virtual web site of PMC with every single office available virtually on the site in specified time & manage it properly. Avoid human interface as much we can as there only lays the success of digitalization. Make connectivity available at every square via interaction centers & get all day to day transactions like complaints too various payments & noc’s on this web site. Make across the counter payments a bit costly to promote online payments. Data is key to most of the problems & PMC should have best data bank about everything related to the city right from numbers of stray dogs in city too schools in the city too numbers of public vehicles i.e. PMPML busses on road & make this data available to every citizen on a click. Let every citizens creates his user id & his page on the web site & avail this data. Make a separate data collecting & analyzing team at PMC which will be like special force making this data available to every real needy one by confirming the intentions.
Also the DP should be in virtual 3D form, displaying the images of the use of the land or the zone so every citizen can read it!

9. Health
This has to be called as health & population control. As population is the main curse or cause of failure of our every policy & has to be controlled. Like PMC schools PMC health centers condition is too bad & needs to be looked after. Promote use of public health centers by making them people friendly & same make PMC corporaters as well staff to use them compulsory. Instead a citizen coming to public health center make health center people move out & reach out to the needy ones.

10. Solar/Alternate Power 
Make compulsory solar water heating at every existing as well new development whatever it may be. Include it in DC rules as well make provision of solar farms of rooftops of the building & in open spaces & on hills! Make all the bus stops like establishments with solar roof & utilize every such sq ft including PMC buildings terrace for solar power generation.

11. Toilets and Sanitation
Mark public toilets as reservation in DP. As well make ladies & gents public toilets compulsory in every new building & accessible to public. Tie up with every business house in city for adopting public toilets & allow them advertising as well their offices property tax bills at different rates who have adopted such toilets. Take a design competition for standard design of public toilets as well best maintained toilets every year!

12. Traffic management
Probably the star of all issues! The only solutions are strengthening public transport & then apply vehicle tax to demoralize people using private vehicles! CC TV cameras & control room for keeping control on the same. The people have to come on roads for minimum purposes such should be the city planning. Convert every amenity place acquired for just two purposes i.e. biodiversity or paid parking as we have enough malls & commercial places.


13. Water Supply 
Metered water supplies is must & fix the meters of down take lines of over head tanks also as unless we don’t know how much we are using how we can control the use? Collect every drop of rain water through close lines & collect it at various locations treat it & reuse it in rainy days that will curb the supply  of fresh water in rainy season. Make a network of rain water carrying lines not gutters for this! Enforce rain water harvesting in private developments & measure its use in terms of reduced use of fresh water. Rain water harvesting of catchment areas of dams supplying water to city should also be accepted as civic body’s responsibility only. Think of small check dams in river along with making the gorge deep to store more rain water. Here we can think of charging ground water & increasing ground water level also. A continues data of city ground water level has to be maintained for this.
Reuse of drainage is most important aspect & we can urge even smaller societies to come together & have their own combine ETPs’ especially in new development or merged villages.

14. Biodiversity
The city green belts has to be declared as reservations & acquire them by  giving TDR or market rate & plant as much indigenous trees we can & create forests within the city! Don’t allow any private club houses or swimming pools but use the open spaces for biodiversity conservation. Make every citizen plant & survive one tree in his or her life time. Name the tree after the one who has planted it & ask him to look after the same. Form nature clubs in every school & ward & carry awareness programs about various aspects of nature. We need public parks& amenity spaces can be the best place to make it happen. Also river side green belts can play important role in this. Use this TDR   i.e. generated for acquiring green belts & hill slopes TDR for affordable housing only!

15. Aesthetic Values, Culture & Heritage of the City!
This is where city lacks most as look at the sky line & we are ruled by hoardings & dish TVs cables all around. There has to be a specific design pattern for every public utility right from bus stop too pedestrian bridges & keeping utility at front aesthetics must be worked! Creating more & more public places right from river fronts to even open performing arenas in every part of the city should be another target. As backbone of the city is culture & if we conserve culture then automatically right from environment too heath everything falls in place! Let’s understand that no city can become smart if it lacks culture. Recently there was a news in media about 72 old sirens from British times has been discarded as the local body is unable to maintain them! Such old sites or structures or establishments must be listed out & convert them in tourist spots by preserving them with proper information boards near them!
Encyclopedia of the city is missing as no booklet or any map is there which tells us what we should look for in the city which was once famous for its heritages!

16. Safety & Disaster Management
Leave apart PMC even police force too is lagging on this very important front & we need to make common man aware about how to behave in disaster time like fire, earth quake or flood. Also safety measures to be strengthened as a very basic need of a good smart city is safe environment it provides to its citizens!
We can think of Drone Cameras flying over the city main roads as well rivers & congested areas all round the clock for surveillance to monitor disasters as well chain snatching type street crimes! These drone cameras can be used for traffic management also!The CC TV’s has to be of good quality & people should be made aware about location & their use as well their periodical maintenance! Most of the time the footage is of poor quality & of no use, is what recent experiences are!
Reaction time in disaster times is very much important by every person involved & a routine training is a must & a separate cell has to be created for same & we can use Ex Servicemen for such activities!

17. Encroachment Policy & Implementation
Any type of encroachment has to be dealt with immediate effect & without allowing any high profile interference or influence as then only people will trust law & rules! Make a separate court or tribunal to deal the encroachment matters & sort them out & first target should be no harassment to the common citizens; may it be any illegal building complex or even a stall of footpath!

18. Infrastructure to the Public Service Team
Look at the condition of PMC staff colonies or Police colonies & you will know why they are mostly frustrated at work. It’s very important to give proper residences as well other facilities like medical & even recreation to all those personnel who are working with any public serving establishment as then only we can hold them responsible for the job they are supposed to do i.e. serve the common man at their best!


Finally lets believe in our own capacities & make Smart City as our common goal as then only we can make it happen! As this is one dream which one single man might have seen but it should make each of us sleepless then only is any hope that it will be a reality or else it will just one more dream which will be forgotten in the time travels! And we need to be patient yet consistent to see this dream together, so be it!

--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani ! (Click the links below)

http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2015/02/story-of-toilet.html


http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

http://www.punecorporation.org/GRS/Complaint/LaunchComplaintCitizen.aspx

Think Green, Think Life


www.sanjeevanideve.com