Alfonso Calderón
Director General
Wells Commerce Group
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View from the Top

Securing the Industry's Safety

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 16:05

Q: What should the industry do to reduce safety risks in the workplace?

A: The demanding nature of the Mexican market means companies must keep up by developing new production methods, often using complex and high-risk compounds. Because of the inherent risks associated with these elements, it is essential that companies adapt faster, more efficient and well-planned safety standards and strategies and adopt or develop new risk-reducing technologies. In doing so, they can establish quicker response and efficiency rates in dangerous situations such as fires. According to the Mexican Association of Automatic Sprinklers against Fires (AMRACI), 36.5 percent of every 100 fires in urban zones occur in industrial settings, commercial warehouses and workshops and 63.5 percent in residential homes. In the case of industry more people are exposed due to the number of employees, so industrial accidents are responsible for 73.1 percent of the total deaths in fires in Mexico.

Q: How does Mexico compare with other countries on safety compliance?

A: There is a significant gap between emerging and developed countries in safety procedures and standards. Queretaro has various state-of-the-art industrial parks that have all of the transportation and basic infrastructure, as well as safety infrastructure and culture that allows for faster responses to accidents. However, in Ecatepec in the State of Mexico, there are many old warehouses and factories that do not comply with new safety regulations and certifications. In developed countries, companies follow around 85 percent of the safety framework, whereas in an emerging country like Mexico businesses meet 45- 50 percent of the minimum safety requirements and regulations. As a result, this country is far more prone to accidents, fires and other safety hazards.

Q: How closely do the public and private sectors follow the regulations?

A: The public and private sectors must adhere to the same regulatory framework but the public sector at times seeks the cheaper safety alternative rather than the most appropriate. It implements the lowest cost solutions that meet minimum requirements for infrastructure safety. On the other hand, the skyscrapers on Mexico City’s Reforma avenue are built using top-of-the-line safety equipment and comply with the highest possible standards. Although both are following the exact same regulations, the amount of money and time that is invested in implementing the solution differs drastically. The North American safety framework is much more stringent and demanding but it also helps that the culture has adapted to these regulations and has fully integrated them into its infrastructure. Both the public and private sectors here must ensure they follow all regulations and even surpass the requirements.

Q: What are the ideal fire safety products for industrial parks or construction sites?

A: Companies that must install fixed fire-extinguishing equipment in accordance with NOM-002-STPS-2010 face an investment of about US$1.8 million in addition to the costs of adapting the building, water storage and other factors. We can help offset the cost with our ecological, modular fire-safety system that does not require a pump, engine or pipes because it works only with air tanks. The system’s hoses give the product a reach of 150m, which is impossible with a fixed system. It uses less water because it is mixed with an agent that is more efficient in extinguishing fires of any class. Combining agents with smaller doses of water extinguishes fires faster and with the least damage possible. These modular systems can be moved when necessary to new buildings, are easy to install and require only a few people to recharge, adapt and operate them.