The concept of occupational safety and health of the workers is a new concept even to the oldest industries of Nepal. The government of Nepal has enforced concepts of OSH through its Labour Act 1992. It has highlighted a few issues and provisions on working hours, physical infrastructural setup, yearly medical examination and provisions of safety measures in work etc.
In this light, except for a few enactments under Labour Act 1992, the issues of OSH still lack legal backup. Yet, the Ministry of Health and Population is ignorant about the occupational health issues. No health programs in Nepal address the prevention and control of occupational related diseases and conditions. Though the Labour Act 1992 states that occupational diseases are required to be reported, it has not defined the list of the occupational diseases and the process for providing welfare and compensation to the workers suffering from occupational diseases.
Though the Government of Nepal established the Occupational Safety and Health Project (OSHP) under the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management in 1995 with the prime objective of improving occupational safety and health in Nepal, it has not been able to obtain a permanent status for long term sustainability. The major facade to installing the concept of OSH in Nepal lies in the inability of concerned stakeholders to grasp the utility and importance of occupational health services. Major obstacles in enforcing effective OSH practices in Nepal from the nation’s perspective are least priority of the government, lack of national strategy for OSH management, legal back up mechanism and focal point at government ministries. Few industries have taken prudent measures by establishing OSH setups thereby decreasing vulnerability of hazards.
There is an immediate need for enacting OSH specific legal tools.