World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2016


The International Labour Organisation (ILO) celebrates the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28 to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide. The theme of the day for 2016 is Workplace Stress: A collective challenge.
For the ILO, stress is the harmful physical and emotional response caused by an imbalance between the perceived demands and the perceived resources and abilities of individuals to cope with those demands. Work-related stress is determined by work organization, work design and labour relations and occurs when the demands of the job do not match or exceed the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker, or when the knowledge or abilities of an individual worker or group to cope are not matched with the expectations of the organizational culture of an enterprise. The workplace factors that can cause stress are called psychosocial hazards.
A negative interaction between occupational conditions and human factors may lead to emotional disturbances and behavioural problems. On the contrary, when working conditions and human factors are in balance, work creates a feeling of mastery and self-confidence; increases motivation, working capacity and satisfaction; and improves health. The core values reflected in ILO standards on occupational safety and health are expressed in three main principles: (i) work should take place in a safe and healthy working environment; (ii) conditions of work should be consistent with workers’ wellbeing and human dignity; and (iii) work should offer real possibilities for personal achievement, self-fulfilment and service to society.
In addition to the ILO a number of international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Social Security Association (ISSA), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and the World Economic Forum (WEF) have been active in the prevention and management of psychosocial hazards and the promotion of mental health at work through research and advocacy, including the development and implementation of specific initiatives.
The WHO has contributed to the prevention of psychosocial risks through the publication of research, guidelines, tools and other resources. The work of the WHO on occupational health is governed by the Global Plan of Action on Workers’ Health 2008-2017. The WHO has also developed relevant guidance on how to address psychosocial risks and work related stress through a number of publications.
Employers should be aware of the negative effects of the psychosocial hazards that may affect workers as a result of overwork and lack of control over their tasks, with the consequences of work-related stress and related coping behaviours and health outcomes. Work related stress is often caused by lack of support within the organisation and also when there is little or no help and support from higher officers and colleagues. Stress at work interferes with the ability to perform the job due to depression, social withdrawal, loss of interest in the work etc.
The person is more resilient to stress when the needs of the body are taken care of. The better one feels, the better they are prepared to combat job stress. Making employers and workers aware, informed and competent to address these new risks creates a safe and healthy working environment, builds a positive and constructive preventive culture in the organization, protects the health and wellbeing of workers, and increases productivity.
A national occupational safety and health culture is one in which the right to a safe and healthy working environment is respected at all levels, where Governments, employers and workers actively participate in securing a safe and healthy working environment. The Constitution of India provides detailed provisions for the rights of the citizens and also lays down the Directive Principles of State Policy which set an aim to which the activities of the State are to be guided. On the basis of these Directive Principles, the Government is committed to regulate all economic activities for management of safety and health risks at workplaces and to provide measures so as to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for every working man and woman in the nation. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the protection of life and personal liberty of a person.
Employers have a duty to prevent occupational stress by taking protective measures through the assessment and control of risks at work. Employers should provide a stress-free work environment, recognise where stress is becoming a problem for staff, and take action to reduce stress.
Stress management is the concepts that can be adopt to reduce occupational stress of employees at work place.  It is a continuous process that should be monitored frequently by different forecasting techniques. The employers may organise different stress management intervention like workshop and awareness programme to help their employees to reduce stress at workplace. This will provide a stress-free work environment for the workers and increase the productivity of the organisation.

Earth Day 2016


The Earth Day was observed on April 22. The first Earth Day was organised in 1970 with an aim to promote the thoughts of ecology, reverence for existence on earth and highlighting growing concern over pollution of the soil, air, and water.
The April 22 date was also designated as International Mother Earth Day by a resolution adopted by the United Nations in 2009. This is an annual day on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate and support for environmental protection. This year’s theme is: Trees for the Earth.  This is because trees help to combat climate change. They absorb excess and harmful CO2 from our atmosphere. Scientists, climate experts, Governments and international organizations have all agreed that 350 parts per million (ppm) is the upper limit for CO2 in the atmosphere. Beyond 350 ppm, the planet can no longer support human life. In March, 2015, the global monthly average for CO2 concentration surpassed 400 (ppm). An obvious and necessary solution is to look for ways to dramatically cut carbon-emissions.  But there are no longer sufficient trees on the planet even to absorb the amount of CO2.
In fact, in a single year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced by driving the average car 26,000 miles. Trees help us breathe clean air. Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark. Trees help us to counteract the loss of species.
By planting the right trees, we can help to counteract the loss of species, as well as provide increased habitat connectivity between regional forest patches. Trees help communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability and provide food, energy and income.
In majority of the urban areas throughout the world, the tree cover is declining and impervious cover is increasing due to the demand of the land for development. Urbanization appears to contribute to ever-growing levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change.
The searing heat wave in western Odisha has reached a record temperature in April 2016.  The daytime temperature in Titilagarh, known as the hottest place of the State, recorded 47 degree Celsius on April 22. Between 2006 and 2016, the maximum temperature in Titilagarh had never crossed 46 degree. This western Odisha town has been a hot zone for decades. However, the highest here was 48.1 degree recorded on April 30, 1999. As per Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre sources, April 17 was one of the hottest days in the month of April as 20 towns recorded maximum temperature over 40 degree.
The very dense forest (VDF) and moderately dense forest (MDF) cover in Odisha has declined by 86 sq km, according to the latest report of India State of Forest Report (ISFR)-2013 compared to 2011. All lands with tree canopy density of 70 per cent and above are categorised as VDF while land with tree canopy density of 40 per cent and more but less than 70 per cent is taken as MDF. Degradation of forests is largely responsible for the change in climate over the land, variation in rainfall patterns and global warming.
Bhubaneswar was a city with pleasant climatic condition throughout the year. Since last decade Bhubaneswar is experiencing high population growth, urbanisation and distinct weather condition. The effects of climate change have been observed since last few years. It has been found to be excessive heat in summer. Over last one decade, the temperature of Bhubaneswar has been getting warmer and warmer by breaking the records in temperature rise and heat wave. The capital city created a weather history of 45.7 degree by breaking all time record in the month of April on temperature parameter. The city had recorded maximum temperature of 45 degree Celsius, highest so far in April, 1985. Average temperatures in Bhubaneswar have risen as tree coverage has declined and the number of heat-absorbing roads and buildings has increased. The number of rainy days has also been decreased in the city. Earlier, the city had a sound coverage of greenery but now it has decreased substantially, leading to uncomfortable conditions. Modification of the land surface by urban development and reduction of open space is another reason for the unusual mercurial rise in the city in summer. Small water bodies and wetlands are increasingly being filled up by multistoried buildings. The level of pollution has also increased due to increase in the number of traffic and decrease in green areas of the city. The expansion of the city and a lot of concrete structures are also the reason for microclimatic change over the years.
Human lives are largely supported by the benefits from trees. Trees cool the city, by shading our homes and streets and breaking up urban “heat islands” effect. In the warmer months of the year, urban areas realise lower ambient temperatures when trees are strategically planted along streets and near buildings. Footpaths, which are provided at the sides for pedestrians, have to be shaded by rows of trees. The open spaces of a city perform a variety of functions and a variety of uses. By this, cities can maintain green space within and throughout their urban and suburban centres, including trees and green space for recreation, cooling, storm water management and simple aesthetic enhancement and livability. a coherent
City “climate action plans” often incorporate urban forestry into climate change mitigation and adaption strategies. An active urban forest management for climate change strengthens community resilience to climate change impacts. Urban forests should be included in the city planning process. Forest edges are therefore to be regarded as essential and permanent protection and should never be cut or removed.

68th Bhubaneswar Foundation Day


Today, the State capital city of Bhubaneswar will celebrate its 68th Foundation Day.  It was on April 13, 1948 that first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had laid the foundation stone of the city. Since then, Bhubaneswar remains a celebrated model of modern architecture and city planning with the prehistoric past as a Temple City.
Bhubaneswar is one of the planned new towns in the post-Independence period. World renowned German architect and urban planner Dr Otto Koenigsberger prepared the city’s first master plan in 1948, drawn on neighbourhood principles, for a population of 40,000. The city remains a notable paradigm of modern town planning and architecture in India.
Bhubaneswar before becoming the capital of Odisha in 1948 had been a temple town with series of ancient sandstone temples, heritage ponds and water tanks. Koenigsberger wanted Bhubaneswar to be a modern city
In his introductory notes, he said the plans of very few towns in India were laid out by experts. Odisha was fortunate to be able to build a new town specifically designed for the purpose of a capital to be equally convenient for functioning of the Government and everyday life of its inhabitants. Architect Julius Vaz played an important role in shaping the skyline of Bhubaneswar. He designed most of the Government buildings. Vaz adopted the Hindu style of architecture with some modifications to take advantage of modern methods of construction and to meet new social needs of the people. None of his works in Bhubaneswar is a copy of buildings from other area. It is original and unique.
Koenigsberger specified a few guiding principles and climatic design features essential for buildings in the city and suggested the Government buildings not to be designed for air conditioning in the initial stage because the weather was agreeable enough. According to his guidelines, most Government buildings have impressive corridors, which are also intended to protect the walls of office rooms from direct sun rays.
Neighbourhood units were designed by Koenigsberger with the best amenities and facilities of urban life, with units placed at short distances to give people easy access to school, hospital and other amenities. He suggested seven types of roads – footpaths, parkways, cycle paths, minor housing streets, major housing streets, main roads and main arteries -for seven groups of users for seven different functions. The layout of housing was designed with parallel rows to admit sunlight and fresh air. Contemporary neighbourhoods facilitate pleasant and comfortable environment.
The effects of climate change have been observed since last few years in the city. It has been found to be excessive heat in summer both during day and night .The temperature in summer is ranging in most of the days around 40 degree celsius, which not only affects the health and comfort of the people but also demands more energy. The number of rainy days has been decreased, and the groundwater level has decreased by one meter in the major areas of the city.
The rapid urbanisation has become a great concern for heritage conservation. There are many threats to cultural heritage sites. Due to development pressures, archaeological sites are neglected or surrounded by poorly planned commercial development. The fine architectural elements are gradually losing their importance. In many areas, there are encroachments and narrow heritage routes. The monuments and the cultural activities associated with the monuments play a very important role in the lifestyle of the people of Odisha and give a special identity to them. It is necessary to improve awareness of cultural heritage due to its historical, social and aesthetic significance.
Urban transformation is a habitual process in the evolution of cities. In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a Smart City contains a desire list of infrastructure and services. To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban area which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development – institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure. This can be a long term goal and cities can work towards developing such comprehensive infrastructure incrementally, adding on layers of smartness.
In the Smart City proposal Bhubaneswar got the score of 78.83 points and topped the list. In Bhubaneswar, the plans are (1) the construction of the Bhubaneswar Town Centre District (BTCD) for which a 985-acre will be developed as a model area with better urban mobility and waste management system. The boundary of the district is
defined by properties fronting Janpath Road on the east, Udyan Marg on the south, railway tracks on the west, and Maharshi College Road on the north. Key city landmarks in the district include: Ashoka Market, Master Canteen Chowk, Bhubaneswar Railway Station, City Bus Terminal Ram Mandir, Rajmahal Chowk and its immediate surroundings. (2) The city administration will build cycle tracks along the town centre.( 3) Development of facilities such as drinking water and sewerage has already been taken up under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut) scheme. (4) Besides planning to roll out a fleet of 565 buses to connect all the 67 wards of the city, the administration is also promoting non-motorised mode of transport. (5) Rahagiri to promote no-car days has already started in the city, (6) Pedestrian-friendly traffic signals will also be introduced. (7) Open spaces and parks to be developed to make the city ecologically sustainable. (8) Safe refuse points will also be introduced for female commuters. By pressing a particular button, those in need of help can inform police. (9) The city administration will also install at least five surveillance cameras at 26 major traffic junctions to check crime.  (10) An online parking ticket system will also be introduced.
Cultural heritages are fundamental aspects of our identity and must be transferred to the next generations in the best possible conditions. The new trend in creating Smart Cities for the future should reflect our cultural heritage. One major challenge is the restoration of water bodies. All historical buildings and temples in the old Bhubaneswar need to be protected and conserved. The central area of Bhubaneswar designed by Koenigsberger is a special urban heritage site of the city with outstanding planning features and has a public value. The buildings designed in this area by architect Vaz are the important landmarks of the city.These buildings with special architectural interest along with the site should be protected from alterations by regulatory techniques.
Smart City should address the social and cultural needs of the people. Architects should design climate responsive buildings to provide thermal comfort to people and reduce energy consumption. The buildings, power systems can be brought down considerably by the integration of smart technology in building design. Architect should incorporate Intelligent Building system right from the preparation of the design brief. Right from the concept stage the building elements such as heat load calculation and energy consumption, security system, fire protection, water supply should be considered. Design strategies should promote social inclusion and equity and ensure equitable access of infrastructure and amenities to its people.

Comfortable Living Space for Autism


The percentage of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is rising in our society. In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the ambitious new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets that promise to leave no one behind.
Autism is characterised by difficulties with social functioning, which can seriously affect a person’s ability to live independently. Adults with autism therefore often need support in managing daily tasks in their homes. In order to highlight the need to improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from ASD, United Nation’s (UN) World Autism Awareness Day is being celebrated on April 2 every year.
The theme for 2016 is “Autism and the 2030 Agenda: Inclusion and Neurodiversity”. Neurodiversity is the idea that a neurological difference like autism is the result of normal, natural variation in the human genome. Autism is a lifelong neurological and complex condition that affects the way a person perceives and interacts with other people and the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that whilst all people with autism share certain difficulties, they will be affected by them in different ways. Some may lead relatively independent lives while others require dedicated support every day.
Each of the autistic children’s sensory sensitivities differ from one to another. Some might be disturbed by the light, and some might feel annoyed by sound. Occasionally, to build the children’s confidence, they need a space for them to walk and practice their activities on their own while the parents can still supervise them. Architects should creatively design spaces which do not make the children feel confined, but make them comfortable enough to carry on their activities freely. The supervision should not create excessive intrusion in the child’s activities or interactions.
The design of residential buildings can profoundly impact on the health, wellbeing and behaviour of children and adults with autism. To enhance the confidence and independence of people with autism and complex needs, a holistic approach must be taken that aligns the building design and level of personal support with individual preferences and aspirations. Service staffs, prospective residents and their families are rarely consulted in the writing of design briefs and are typically not involved in the preparation and initial stages of building projects. Post Occupancy Evaluations (POE) is rarely done in such projects. (POE) represented a special opportunity to investigate the space designed for autistic people served their needs. A variety of research techniques (behaviour mapping, videos, and user interviews) are used to evaluate how the facility as a whole and its component parts supported the needs of the people.
Behavioural factors emphasize the relationship between behaviour and the physical environment. Some of the issues explored in this area are: How does the size of the facility affect its users? What does the building’s image imply to the users and the community? How does the proximity of areas in the building affect the frequency of their use? Does the configuration of the rooms and materials affect user behaviour?  How do other factors combine with the physical environment to affect users? Research and evaluations indicate that the physical environment profoundly affect the users behaviour. Without POE, it can be difficult and expensive to modify the building being evaluated, which may have several shortcomings.
The task for providing suitable surroundings for people with autism falls into the realm of architecture. Thus, architectural designs for autism treatment centers should incorporate both design approaches in order to keep up with treatment necessities and offer suitable surroundings for autism therapy.  Autism therapy is mainly targeted towards children and focus on establishing the key abilities and social skills that facilitate their possibilities to integrate in the public education system. Autism treatment centres should not be isolated in spaces outside the city, but rather be located inside the urban area where they can establish relations with cultural, education and health institutions. This will facilitate interactions between autism children and the people outside, especially children studying at nearby schools and kindergartens. In this regard, the public interface becomes an extremely necessary part of an autism treatment centre and a tool for awareness and integration. The interaction spaces need to be large enough, and flexible to be able to accommodate many activities and circumstances that people may come across in day to day lives, from school environments to public spaces. Also, interaction spaces should have both indoor and outdoor areas in order to cover more levels of sensory stimulation.
To produce the behavioral map, each child was observed for a fixed time interval. His responses, movements and activities will be documented.  This technique may be used for modification and reorganisation of space for better benefit of the autistic people.
Developing standard guidelines for creating autistic-friendly environments rely greatly on research. To provide a calm ‘back drop’ for people with autism can assist in reducing some elements of stress which is helpful for their well being. Housing providers and architects need to know how best to create autism-friendly environments and how residents can be helped to manage in their homes and their wider communities. There is a need to develop design guidelines for people with ASDs. The basic design considerations should focus on safety and security.
Autism Therapy Centre, Bhubaneswar is the outcome of strong determination, commitment and sustained efforts of a few parents of children affected with autism. The centre was founded in August, 2008. The Therapy Centre is managed by a trust called “Manage Autism Now (MAN)” since June, 2010. The Autism Therapy Centre, Bhubaneswar is fully conscious of this and is giving emphasis on creating public awareness in this regard, besides providing effective intervention to the special kids having autism spectrum disorder. These  covers Behavioural Therapy, Speech Therapy, Social skills training, Yoga and meditation Therapy, Ayurvedic treatment, Sensory integration Therapy, learning through computers and alternative mode to develop communication skills. The centre also provides referral service to parents/families and professionals who work with them.
Architecture design for autism addresses sensory needs as it develops an environment which will enable them to lead a better life in autism-friendly built environment.