Improving working conditions in the metal industry: Sri Lankan Conference on Environmental Health & Safety 2017


From extraction to disposal, the metal life cycle creates a huge environmental impact; air pollution, noise pollution, disfigurement of landscape, large-scale natural habitat destruction, metal waste generation, CO2 emissions and wastewater generation, to name a few. This in turn affects society and economy at a larger scale.

It’s unfortunate that environmental health and safety tops the cut back list of many organisations, especially during an economic downturn. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a great majority of environmental impacts and workplace accidents are preventable. But good initiatives have not always been implemented or sustained.

As project METABUILD believes that “good environmental health and safety is good business”, it has an obligation to improve the environmental performance and working conditions in participating metal organisations. Accordingly, the Sri Lankan Conference on Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) was held on 13 June 2017 in Colombo with 200 participants.

The event was organised by the National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) Sri Lanka with the support of the Lanka Responsible Care Council, Coordinating Secretariat of Science Technology and Innovation, and Ministry of Science, Technology and Research.

The conference brought together an international expert panel – national representatives from industry, civil society, public authorities, and research & consultancy services – to explore and discuss opportunities and strengths related to Environmental, Health and Safety.

Mr. Stefan Melnitzky, Managing Director of Austria Recycling and Senior Technical Expert of METABUILD project, and Mr. Rajat Batra, Chief Executive Officer of STENUM Asia and Senior Technical Expert of METABUILD Project enlightened the gathering on “How RECP can improve EHS: Global Context and Practical Examples”. The session had an interactive group discussion. It was perceived as a good brainstorming as well an experience sharing session by participating industries.


Mr. Stefan Melnitzky addressing the conference audience

Mr. Rajat Batra briefing the audience on the project


Engineer Samantha Kumarasena facilitating a group activity


The event also had a panel discussion on “The global trends in ESH at Industries and how Sri Lanka industries can excel in improving ESH performance”. The distinguished panel comprised Mr. Barry Dyer, Chief Executive of Responsible Care, New Zealand; Mr. Stefan Melnitzky, Senior Technical Expert of project METABUILD; Mr. Rajat Batra, Senior Technical Expert of project METABUILD; Mr. Srinivas Pranesh, EHS Head for BASF South Asia; and Engineer Sena Peris, President of Lanka Responsible Care Council. The panel was moderated by Engineer Samantha Kumarasena, Chief Executive Officer of NCPC and project manager of METABUILD, Sri Lankan team. Participants were enthusiastically engaged in the panel discussion which had an intense discussion on the link between Responsible Care (RC) and Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP).