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On Safety and More - A Guest Lecture by Mr. W A Balakumaran

September 10th 2014 was the special day a respected alumnus of our college returned to CEG to enlighten us on his field of expertise; Mr. W A Balakumaran, Director (Retd.,) of the Regional Labour Institute, Chennai.

The guest lecture was organized by the Society of Mechanical Engineers (SME). Mr. W A Balakumaran completed his Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engg. from CEG in 1961 and went on to guide around 600 students as a faculty for their Diploma in Industrial Safety, in Chennai, Kolkatta and Mumbai. He also conducts several Safety Audits, HAZOP studies and risk analysis. The list of his achievements goes on.

53 years ago, Mr. Balakumaran passed out from CEG, Mech. Engg. and was keen to express his nostalgia of returning to our esteemed institution.

"Will this be an interactive session?" He asks the audience. He replied to his own question by saying he doesn't know for sure as it is a talk about safety issues. Safety aspect, very often overlooked in many industries, is considered as a rather mundane topic but he emphasized that it was, by default, the most essential and important task to be accomplished first, to ensure the safety of workers and beings around, to avoid minor and extreme accidents, especially death.

Mr. Balakumaran spoke about the need for machinery and process safety, protecting from dangerous parts, guards and devices, risk assessment, ergonomics and requirement of guards, types of machinery and hazards control.

He also mentioned that 75% of industrial accidents are due to unsafe conditions alone. Serious injuries from machinery, which could lead to amputation, fractures, lacerations, crushing injuries, etc. exist in industries especially when safety is not given due attention.

At the end of his speech, students were given a chance to ask questions regarding the topic and he answered it all satisfactorily. The top 2 questions posed that were most important, thoughtful and relevant were given the prizes as promised by SME.

With a token of gratitude to Mr. W. Balakumaran that concluded the end of this lecture, the students left the hall, eyes and mind opened to such a vast and vital subject.

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