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3M India puts workforce safety training on wheels

February 5, 2020

The Safety on Wheels program is revolutionizing safety training by bringing instructional tutorials to places of work. The initiative plans to reach 1 million industrial workers across India’s 29 states.

3M India Safety on Wheels bus showing industrial workers appropriately dressed for on-the-job protection.

I had a very close friend of mine working in a refinery who had an accident and his face was disfigured,” said V.B. Sant, former Director General of India’s National Safety Council.

“He told me death is better than this.”

Sant chokes on the words as he recollects them, a painful reminder of the lasting effect a split-second workplace accident can have.

In a country with more than 23 million industrial workers, stories like this are all too common. The real risk these workers face every day inspired the team at 3M India to make a concerted effort to enhance their safety and protection.

“We want to engage people in the most critical conversation of their lives, which is their own personal safety,” said Debarati Sen, former Managing Director of 3M India.

“We want to engage people in the most critical conversation of their lives, which is their own personal safety.”

– Debarati Sen, former Managing Director of 3M India

3M collaborated with India’s Ministry of Labour and Employment to map out a platform that would make this dream a reality. Sant believes in order to most effectively communicate safety, the message should go directly to the source of workers’ habits rather than preaching from afar.

This notion culminated in the Safety on Wheels program, a traveling safety training initiative with the ambitious goal of reaching a million workers with two trucks.

The program has trained 160,000 people to date, including some of India’s biggest companies in a variety of industries like construction, automotive and pharmaceutical. The program has left a lasting impression on employees, even after the roadshow moves on.

“Rather than a supervisor coming on the floor and saying, ‘Hey, is your earplug inserted correctly?’” Sen said, “they’re doing it themselves because we delivered that message in an engaging format.”

The immediate impact is rewarding, but the Safety on Wheels program has many more miles ahead before it reaches the ultimate goal. The team will continue chasing their dream of improving industrial workers’ lives in all of India’s 29 states.  “As a company, we truly believe what is good for India is good for 3M,” Sen said.

Learn more about 3M’s Safety on Wheel program here.

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