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GRIHA Council launches tool to assess safety and hygiene standards of workplaces

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More than 100 organizations/individuals have so far registered to use the BFI tool

Bangalore, April 29, 2020: To prevent the spread of coronavirus post-lockdown, GRIHA Council launched a self-assessment online tool Building Fitness Indicator (BFI) to assess safety and hygiene standards for workplaces in India. GRIHA Council has developed this tool and is offering it as a free service to help organizations make their workplaces safe and sanitized in the post-lockdown period.

Available for commercial buildings specifically designed for office spaces, the overall intent of the BFI is to:

  • Provide confidence to the building occupants that the building of it being safe and fit to occupy in the current situation of the pandemic
  • Enhance the health and well-being of the workforce
  • Enhance productivity and business processes

In accordance with the highest standards of safety guidelines to be followed as per World Health Organisation (WHO), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India (GoI), The Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHARE) and a few more,  the tool evaluates the sanitization and safety of a building based on three categories – Workplace, Workforce, and Awareness – that are assessed for its policy intervention, social distancing, and hygiene aspects.

The BFI appraises the workplace on all necessary policies such as waste management, proper housekeeping, government guidelines for Covid-19, and social distancing to deal with the post-lockdown phase. Furthermore, the tool evaluates the ideal working conditions based on certain aspects, including ventilation rate, indoor temperature and so on, to provide a healthy working environment for its occupants.

The tool also measures the health of a workplace based on other key parameters including availability and safe access to drinking water, a COVID-19 aid corner as a precaution, and social distancing norms.

Speaking about the indicator, Mr Sanjay Seth, Chief Executive Officer, GRIHA Council and Senior Director, Sustainable Habitat Programme, TERI, said, “BFI is a self-assessment tool developed by GRIHA Council as a social initiative. GRIHA Council has always worked on the underlying principles of ‘What gets measured, gets managed’. The BFI has been developed based on guidelines issued globally and nationally. However, the tool is not a rating or a certification but is advisory in nature and we encourage all organizations to use this tool to provide guidance to prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19.”

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Interest on BFI has been evoked internationally with participants from countries like Switzerland, UAE, Nepal, Sri Lanka etc.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kamal Meattle, an environmental activist and CEO of Paharpur Business Centre & Software Technology Incubator Park, said, “The Building Fitness Indicator is a simple to use tool that assesses if a workplace is relatively safe for the health of its employees/occupants in the current pandemic. This initiative by GRIHA Council is the need of the day.”

Talking about the urgent need of building safety standards in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI, and President, GRIHA Council, said, “The International Labour Organization (ILO) declared 28th April as the World Day for Safety and Health at Work. What better a day for GRIHA Council to conduct a webinar on the Building Fitness Indicator tool that enables organizations to assess hygiene and safety readiness levels of their workplaces post the lockdown. The BFI is a very timely initiative by the GRIHA Council as we are in the midst of fighting this COVID-19 crisis.”

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