Noor Paper Arts (NPA) is engaged in the manufacturing of handmade paper, which is an eco-friendly product. The handmade paper manufacturing process requires plenty of water and considering this aspect, the manufacturing facility was based at Jebel Ali Free Zone. Its factory is located in Jebel Ali Free Zone. Even though the company is doing a good job by promoting eco-friendly paper products, the situation inside its manufacturing facility is alarming. The workers do not follow any safety or precautionary measures and as such, are prone to several risks and hazards.
The process being followed during paper manufacturing is primitive and outdated machines are being used. The raw material is not of good quality that has dust and other foreign particles in it. The positioning of motors is not safe and their belts are worn out. There is no provision of masks for the workers who work in dust and deal with hazardous chemicals. The manufacturing facility does not have a sufficient number of fire extinguishers. Moreover, there is no fire exit in the shed. The floor is wet due to water spillage. Tanks are kept open that pose a risk of workers falling into them. Machines are handled manually and there is a risk of the workers getting caught in them. Workers even smoke within the factory premises, which can lead to a fire.
A little care and investment can help in getting rid of all such problems. Inspection of the factory premises and the manufacturing process were conducted by competent personnel of the company. This report contains the observations of the inspection. Recommendations based on these observations are also included in the report.
This report is a result of the rigorous inspection of the manufacturing facility of NPA that was conducted on 15th September 2014. The motive behind this inspection was to ascertain that all the required safety measures were being followed. The inspection also aimed at identifying potential discrepancies and drawbacks in the manufacturing process and the installed machinery/equipment. It was conducted by the company’s ‘Health and Safety Officer’ and his subordinates.
The factory has a workforce of 150 skilled, 200 semi-skilled, and 100 casual/unskilled people. The work is carried out in three shifts; the night shift workers are given some extra payment. The business activity includes manufacturing handmade paper and various gift products made out of it. The raw material used is hosiery waste.
NPA has more weaknesses than strengths as far as complying with the UAE government’s guidelines is concerned. The strengths include its being eco-friendly product-based industry and water conservation. Among the weaknesses, where government guidelines are breached, the following are the major ones:
Risk of the respiratory problem – observations 1, 6, and 16
The UAE Labour Law (Article 19) has strict guidelines for employers regarding occupational diseases. In the handmade paper-making process, there are certain areas where the operators and other laborers are prone to respiratory problems. This is due to the dust that emanates from the hosiery waste (cotton rags) and chemicals. Such instances can be avoided by taking a little extra precaution and requesting the vendors also to send better quality hosiery waste that is free of dust. There is no additional cost involved in following such precautions and as such, there should not be any problem or hindrance (such as approval from the management or board). For hazardous chemicals, airtight containers should be procured for storage purposes. This would cost around 1000 dirham.
Risk of falling from height and/or slipping on the floor – observations 9, 10, 12 & 13
Handmade paper making is a labor-intensive industry. As such, during the manufacturing process, to reduce the use of machines, the beater is installed at a height so that the pulp can flow into the storage tanks by way of gravity. At the same time, a lot of water is used during the beating process. As of now, the water spillage cannot be controlled (due to certain shortcomings and lack of proper technology in this industry), which leads to wet steps and floors.
During ascending and/or descending the steps, the operators and other laborers are prone to falling from height. This might be a cause of bone injuries. It is worth mentioning that Article 13 of UAE Labour Law has a provision for employers’ prosecution in case of injuries to employees during work hours.
Since water spillage cannot be controlled (as of now), the best thing that can be done is to depute the required number of workers for sweeping the floor and keeping it as dry as possible. This particular step would cost only the wages of the deputed people. Considering the size of the shed, two workers in every shift should be enough to take care of the issue. Three shifts mean six workers. On average, the monthly salary of six workers would be six to seven thousand dirhams. Another alternative could be to replace the floor surface with anti-skid tiles. This would cost around 20,000 Dirham and would be a one-time investment.
Risk of noise pollution – observation 8
In the complete handmade paper-making process, the rag chopper is the only machine that makes a lot of noise. There is no way to stop this noise because the process involves steel blades rubbing against each other. The only precaution that can be taken is to provide the operators and other laborers with appropriate preventive aids such as hearing protection devices. Purchasing such devices should not cost more than 5,000 dirhams. This would be a recurring investment (every six months). It should be noted that Article 54 of the UAE ‘Federal Law # 24 of 1999 for the Protection and development of the Environment’ has prescribed certain limits for noise levels by machines and other equipment.
Fire risk – observations 7, 24 & 29
Since the factory is situated in Jebel Ali Free Zone, it comes under the jurisdiction of Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation (PCFC). All businesses that come under PCFC have to adhere to the ‘Health, Safety & Fire Protection Regulations & Standards’ laid out by the Dubai government. There are a couple of instances at NPA that are related to fire risk. First of all, the fire extinguisher is not calibrated. Secondly, laborers have the habit of smoking inside the shed. Finally, there is no separate fire exit. Making provision for a fire exit would incur expenses that might amount to 5,000 dirhams.
Risk of electrocution – observations 5 & 11
The motor of the rag chopper and the agitator pump are kept open. This could lead to the operator getting entangled in the motor v-belts, which might be a cause of electrocution and/or fatal injuries. The motors should be shifted to a safe place (probably a corner) and covers should be provided. Shifting the motors would cost around 2000 dirham and providing covers would amount to an additional 1000 dirham. According to Article 96 of UAE Federal Law # (8) of 1980, all businesses must take precautionary measures to prevent hazards about electricity.
This report brings forward certain issues that need immediate attention. The worst drawback in the factory is non-compliance with safety measures. The main findings suggest that several areas/processes need to be rectified. The major issues are related to health hazards such as respiratory problems, fall injuries, noise pollution, fire risk, and electrocution. Though these issues are very significant, rectifying them would need just a little care.
Workers working in areas where a lot of dust emanates from the process do not wear any face masks to protect themselves from inhaling it. The floor is wet and can be a cause of severe fall injuries. Certain machines make a lot of noise and the operators do not have any hearing protection device to put on. The factory shed does not have any fire exit, which can prove to be fatal during times of emergency. Electric motors and pumps are kept unguarded and can cause electrocution.
The report includes some recommendations that should help improve the working conditions and safety of the workers. Such measures will surely increase the workers’ trust in their organization, which is bound to increase productivity.
|Recommendation||Resources (Manpower/Time/Costs) involved||Priority||Time frame (Date)|
|Request vendors to send good quality hosiery cutting that is free from dust and other foreign particles.||Manpower: The procurement department has to communicate and persuade the vendors. |
Time: One day to convince vendors
Costs: 100 dirhams for telephone call charges
|Procure airtight containers that are suitable for hazardous material and are labeled accordingly.||Manpower: Procurement officer to the source container |
Time: 2 days to gather quotations
Costs: 1000 dirham to purchase containers and 200 dirhams towards the salary of the procurement officer
|Depute workers regularly clean up the spillage from the beating and vat process areas. Also, to put a “Wet Floor” warning sign||Manpower: The HR department would depute such workers. |
Time: One day to shortlist workers
Costs: It would cost around 6,000 dirhams monthly.
|Replace floor surface with anti-skid tiles||Manpower: Procurement officer to gather quotations for civil work and anti-skid tiles. |
Time: Two days to obtain the quotations and ten days to complete the civil work.
Costs: Anti-skid tiles would cost 15,000 dirhams and labor charges for replacing would be 5,000 dirhams. In addition, the salary of the procurement officer would be 200 dirham
|Make covers for tanks. |
Warning signs to be placed near the tanks.
|Manpower: Procurement officer to obtain quotations for tank covers and fitting charges. |
Time: Two days to obtain the quotations and 5 days for fitting work
Costs: The two covers would cost 8,000 dirhams and fitting charges would be 2,000 dirhams. The time devoted by the procurement officer would amount to 200 dirhams.
|Procure hearing protection devices||Manpower: Procurement officer to obtain quotations for hearing protection devices |
Time: two days to gather quotations
Costs: The cost of purchasing such devices would be 5,000 dirham
|Arrange for calibration of fire extinguisher||Manpower: Procurement officer to send fire extinguisher for calibration |
Time: Two days for calibration
Costs: This would cost around 20 dirhams and another 100 dirhams for transportation and the salary of the person who will go.
|Install at least 6 new fire extinguishers in different areas in the shed.||Manpower: Procurement officer to obtain quotations for new fire extinguishers |
Time: 2 days to obtain quotations
Costs: The cost of purchasing 6 new fire extinguishers would be 900 dirhams and the salary for the procurement officer would be 200 dirham
|Make factory premises a no-smoking area. Put signboards at various places.||Manpower: The administration will issue strict guidelines with a penalty clause. Procurement officer to arrange for the signboards. |
Time: Two days to get signboards ready
Costs: The signboards would cost 100 dirham
|Make provision for the fire exit. |
Signboards to be put at appropriate places
|Manpower: Procurement officer to obtain quotations for the fire exit door and its fixing charges. |
Time: Two days to obtain quotations and one week to fix it
Costs: The fire exit door would cost 3000 dirham and the fixing charges would be 2000 dirham.
The time devoted by the procurement officer would amount to 200 dirham
|Shift the motors to a safe place, probably a corner.||Manpower: Procurement officer to obtain a quotation for the civil and electric work involved in the proposed shifting. |
Time: Two days to obtain the quotations and 2 days to complete the shifting work
Costs: Shifting the two motors would cost 2,000 dirhams and the salary of the procurement officer would be 200 dirham
|Make covers for motors.||Manpower: Procurement officer to obtain quotations for the motor covers |
Time: Two days to obtain the quotations and another 2 days to make them.
Costs: Making covers would cost 1,000 dirhams and the salary of procurement officer will be 200 dirham
|Replace the existing rag chopper with a new and advanced version.||Manpower: Procurement officer to obtain a quotation from international suppliers. |
Time: One week to get the desired number of quotations
Costs: A new rag chopper would cost 25,000 dirhams. The cost for installing the new rag chopper would be 2000 dirham. The salary of a procurement officer would be 500 dirhams.
|Change motor v-belts that are worn out.||Manpower: Procurement officer to obtain quotations for v-belts. |
Time: Two days to obtain quotations
Costs: Recurring cost every six months will be 2,000 dirham
|Procure protective gloves for workers.||Manpower: Procurement officer to purchase protective gloves from the local market. |
Time: one day to purchase the gloves
Costs: Recurring cost every month will be 500 dirham
|Install exhaust fans near machines such as rag chopper, beater, and hydraulic press.||Manpower: Procurement officer to obtain a quotation for exhaust fans. Factory electrician to fix the fans |
Costs: The cost of four exhaust fans would be 2,000 dirham and fitting charges would be 200 dirham
Since the operators do not wear any masks, there is a risk of dust inhalation by them.
|The vendors should be instructed to send clean raw material |
The operators and other laborers should be provided with protective gear
|Immediate (next shipment) |
Blades can break.
|The vendor should be instructed to take extra care. |
Some sort of magnetic implement can be used to take out metallic objects.
|Immediate (next shipment) |
There is a lot of vibration during the rag chopping process and there are chances of the nuts getting loose
|Stop work on the rag chopper immediately and send it to the maintenance department. Replace rag chopper with a new version that has low vibration||Intermediate|
Risk of v-belts getting broken
|Use good quality v-belts |
Change v-belts periodically
Depending on the condition of v-belts (every 6 months)
The operator’s clothes might get entangled.
|Shift the motor away from the feeder.||Intermediate (one week)|
Dust can be inhaled by workers
|Arrange respiratory masks||Immediate (1-2 days)|
It might not work properly
|Arrange for fire extinguisher calibration||Immediate (1-2 days)|
No precaution for the operator
|Arrange earplugs for the operators||Immediate (1-2 days)|
|Make such arrangements that the water does not spill. |
If at all there is any spillage, the water should be restricted to small areas.
Assign duty to the appropriate number of workers to mop and clean the surface at regular intervals
|Within one week |
Within one week
Workers can fall into the tank
|Make a cover for the agitator tank||Within one week|
Workers’ clothes can get entangled
|Arrange a cover for the agitator pump |
Shift the agitator place to a corner
|Immediate (1-2 days) |
Within one week
The operator might slip and fall into the tank.
|Cover the beater tank and keep a small opening for the operator to check the pulp.||Within one week|
Steps are slippery due to extensive use of water and as such, workers might slip.
|Avoid water spilling |
Keep the floor dry
Replace the floor surface with anti-skid tiles.
Within 2-3 months
Chances of bacteria development
|Arrange for lifting waste pulp and dumping at a distant area.||Immediate|
Some chemicals are very hazardous.
|Laborers should be provided with protective gloves that are chemical resistant.||Within 1-2 days|
Possibility of inhalation.
|Arrange airtight containers for such chemicals |
Arrange respiratory masks for the operators and laborers.
|Within 1-2 days |
Within 1-2 days
Rise in humidity.
|Install exhaust fans near all the machines||Within one week|
Hands always wet
|Arrange protective hand gloves for the vat workers||Within 1-2 days|
Oil seal in the hydraulic press could burst
|Instruct the laborers to reduce the number of wet papers in the stack |
Arrange for a heavy-duty hydraulic press that is capable of handling large paper stacks.
Within one month
Laborers are exposed to direct sunlight for long hours.
|Arrange protective gear for these laborers |
Arrange cold water so that the laborers do not get dehydrated
|Immediate (1-2 days)|
Body parts could get trapped between rollers
|Make some sort of blockage to stop the operator’s hands from getting caught in the steel rollers. |
Arrange a calendar machine that operates on the latest technology.
|Within one week |
Within one to two months
Manual feeding risky
|Arrange an automatic paper cutting machine.||Within one month|
|Depute someone to keep the area clean||Immediate|
Paper products are inflammable
|Strict guidelines to all the employees not to smoke within the factory premises. |
Keep fire extinguishers at every ten to twelve meters’ distance.
Within a week
Could cause sprains.
|Arrange a forklift to take care of the loading and unloading||Immediate (within a week)|
Chaos during mishaps
|Make a fire exit that could be used during emergencies.||Immediate (within a week)|
| ||Continue the use of environment-friendly and safe products.||Ongoing|
| ||Ensure procurement policy is updated to reflect the use of eco-friendly products as a priority. Monitor costs||Ongoing|
| ||Keep up the good work||Ongoing|
| ||Keep recycling water and conserving precious natural resources.||Ongoing|
| ||Keep up the good work||Ongoing|