"Competition works only if social and environmental standards are incorporated."
Increasingly, purchasers of natural stones from emerging economies demand that these products are complying with social standards and are willing to pay a higher price. This is a sign of their global responsibility. A lot of small-scale factories in China neglect safety and health at the workplace. Therefore silicosis, harms by noise and accidents occur at a high rate. Inappropriate labour rights also worsen the Missing drive guards imply a great accident risk situation, especially of subcontracted workers.
Missing drive guards imply a great accident risk
The mission of Fair Stone is the improvement of working conditions and the health situation in the natural stone industry of Asia. A social standard for natural stones from emerging economies has been collaboratively developed by the WiN=WiN Agency for Global Responsibility (see http://www.fairstone.win--win.de/), the German importer Seltra with its two Chinese partners SFS Stone and Delta Stone, the International Section of the ISSA on Prevention in the Mining Industry, and international experts for labour rights.
Two years ago, this programme started with the financial support of the German government (DEG) and is at the final stage now. In November 2008, the German Technical Board (TÜV) will carry out an audit of the Fair Stone social standard in Xiamen, China. Last year, the first 20 supply factories joined Fair Stone after declaring by signature that they are free of both,
child and forced labour. They committed themselves to the continuous improvement of the working conditions. Now their staffs wear breathing protection to avoid silicosis, and ear protection against hearing damage. Moreover, measures have been taken to enhance workplace safety, powersaving, and cleanness in the factories.
With the expertise of the International Section of the ISSA on Prevention in the Mining Industry, the FairStone OSH-Standard has been defined. Meeting the criteria is a requirement to obtain the FairStone-Label. The FairStone OSH-Standard at a glance:
The existing standard draft has been discussed with TÜV experts, the participating companies, and the Xiamen Stone Chamber.
Earplugs - a simple, but important method to avoid permanent health damage
As part of the Fair Stone Handbook "Social Standard for the Natural Stone Industry", an OSH minimum requirement has been defined. The Table of contents spans :
1. Organisation of Safety and Health
2. Risk Assessment
3. Training and Instruction
4. Maintenance and Inspections
5. First Aid and Fire Prevention
6. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
7. Workplace Safety
8. Silica Dust and Mineral Dust
9. Noise and Vibration
10. Hazardous Substances
11. Machinery and Equipment
12. Electrical Appliances
14. Transportation and Lifting Gear
15. Ergonomics at Work: healthy work habits
Gerhard Czuck, Germany, measuring the noise level at the work place