Factories Act, 1948 (BPSC)


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

                                  Factories Act, 1948
 
Development of Factories Act, 1948

Indian Factories Act, 1881
With the establishment of a Cotton Mills in 1851, and a Jute Mill in Bengal in 1855, modern factory system was founded in India. Women and children were employed. There were excessive and long hours of work with little recreation. The employers used to have their way. In 1881, Indian Factories Act was passed which gave protection to the employees, especially to the children.

Indian Factories Act, 1891
The Factory Commission was appointed in 1890 by the Government of India. On the basis of the recommendations of the Commission an Act was passed in 1891, whereby the definition of Factory was amended to include premises in which fifty persons or more were employed. The Local Governments were empowered to extend it to premises in which twenty persons or more were employed. There were provisions about women employees and hours of work for them were limited with a provision for thirty minute's interval for rest.
The Act was amended from time to time. The Act of 1911 was amended in 1922 to implement Convention of 1919 on Hours of Work. It was amended twice in 1923 and 1926. The Act was thoroughly revised and redrafted in 1934 on the. lines of recommendations made by the Royal Commission on Labour, which was appointed in 1929.

Factories Act, 1934
The Factories Act, 1934, was several times, amended and then the new Act of 1948 was passed. Under the 1934 Act, Provincial Government had power to apply the Act to the establishments where power was used and where more than ten person were employed. It reduced the hours of work and aimed to improve the working condition in factories; provisions were also made for adequate inspection and enforcement of the Act.
 
Factories Act, 1948
In the year 1948, the Factories Act, 1934 was revised and its scope extended to include welfare, health, cleanliness, overtime payments and similar measures. The Factories Act was to ensure proper, safe and healthy working conditions in the factories, so that the workers may feel interest and while in factories, devote their time and labour in the working process of the factory without being afraid of bodily strain and without fear and danger of accidents. The Act was amended periodically upto 1976.
By this time a very large number of chemical factories had been set up involving the manufacture and handling of hazardous and toxic chemicals. This brought in more problems of safety and health. By the time the Government could assess the possible impact of the problem and foresee the possibilities of major disasters, the world's worst tragedy shocked Bhopal wiping out in hours thousands of innocent, ignorant, lives and rendering many more incapacitated.
 
Factories (Amendment) Act, 1987
In 1987, Factories (Amendment) Act, 1987 was passed, a memorial to the victims of Bhopal.
It provides better safeguards in the use and handling of hazardous substance in factories. It calls upon the management to provide for greater safety measures (including precautions regarding the use of portable electric light in the factories), appointment of safety officers in factories where 1000 or more workers are employed, or where in any manufacturing process or operation is carried on, which involves any risk of bodily injury, poisoning or disease, or any other hazard to health to the persons employed in the factory.

The amended Act also provided for investigations of all fatal accidents within a month of their occurrence. It also empowered the Chief Inspector or the Director General of Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes or the Director General of Health Services to the Government of India or such other officer as may be authorised by them, to undertake safety and occupational health surveys.
The Act also brought under its protective clause the contract labour, as also any other category of labour employed directly or through any agency with or without the knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not.

The amended Act further prescribed the provision of creche facility in every factory wherein more than 30 women workers (instead of 50, as provided in the Principal Act) are ordinarily employed.
According to the Act, if a worker is discharged or dismissed from service or quits his employment or is superannuated or dies while in service, during the course of the calendar year, he or his heir or nominee, as the case may be, shall be entitled to wages in lieu of the quantum of leave due.
The amended Act also provided for modified rates of general penalty for offences and enhanced penalty after previous conviction.

The new Sections 36 and 38 relate to precautions against dangerous fumes, gases, etc., and precautions in case of fire, respectively. The new Chapter IV-A
Inserted after Chapter IV of the principal Act , includes the following provisions relating to hazardous processes:

i) Consititution of Site Appraisal
ii) Compulsory disclosure of information by the occupier
iii) Specific responsibility of the occupier in relation to hazardous processes
iv) Power of Central Government to appoint Inquiry Committees
v) Emergency standards
vi) Permissible limits of exposoure of chemical and toxic substances
vii) Workers' participation in safety management
viii) Right of workers to warn about imminent danger.
 
The new schedules, inserted before the Schedule to the Principal Act, include the list of industries involving hazardous processes and permissible levels of certain chemical substances in the working environment.

All the provisions of the Factories (Amendment) Act, 1987 came into force with effect from 1st December, 1987 except the Schedule containing list of notifiable diseases and Sections 7-13 and 41-F which came into force with effect from 1st June, 1988. 7
 
Object of the Act
The object of the Act is to protect human beings from being subject to unduly long hours of bodily strain or manual labour. It also seeks to provide that employees should work in healthy and sanitary conditions so far as the manufacturing process will allow and that precautions should be taken for their safety and for the prevention of accidents.
 
Scope of the Act
The Act extends to whole of India. It applies to all factories including factories belonging to Central or any State Government unless otherwise excluded.
The benefits of this Act are available to persons who are employed in the factory and be covered within the meaning of the term "worker" as defined in the Act. It would, therefore, be desirable to discuss the meaning and definition of the term "factory" and "worker".
Since the term "factory" refers to manufacturing process, it would be helpful to know the meaning of the term "manufacturing process" as defined by the Act.
 
CONTENTS
CHAPTER I.- Preliminary
CHAPTER II.- The Inspecting Staff
CHAPTER III.- Health
CHAPTER IV.- Safety
CHAPTER IVA.- Provisions relating to Hazardous processes
CHAPTER V.- Welfare
CHAPTER VI.- Working hours of adults
CHAPTER VII.- Employment of young persons
CHAPTER VIII.- Annual leave with wages
CHAPTER IX.- Special provisions
CHAPTER X.- Penalties and procedure
CHAPTER XI.- Supplemental 

                                                   
Overview of Factories Act, 1948
Objective & Applicability
 
The Factories Act, 1948 has been enacted to consolidate and amend the law regulating the workers working in the factories. It extends to whole of India and applies to every factory wherein 20 or more workers are ordinary employed. Since the aim and object of the Act is to safeguard the interest of workers and protect them from exploitation, the Act prescribes certain standards with regard to safety, welfare and working hours of workers, apart from other provisions.

Factory 
Means any premises including the precincts thereof where ten or more persons are working in any manufacturing process being carried on with aid of power and where twenty or more workers are working without the aid of power.

Health 



  • Every factory should be kept dean and free from effluvia arising from any drain, privy or other nuisance. {Section 11} 


  • Effective arrangements should be made in every factory for the treatment and effluents due to the manufacturing process carried on therein, so as to render them innocuous, and for their disposal. {Section12} 


  • Effective and suitable provisions should be made in every factory for securing and maintaining in every workroom; adequate ventilation by the circulation of fresh air; and such a temperatures will secure to workers therein reasonable conditions of comfort and prevent injury to health. {Section 13} 


  • Effective measures should be taken to prevent inhalation of dust to prevent inhalation of dust and fume that may produce in the course of manufacturing process. {Section 14} 


  • In any factory where the humidity of air is artificially increased, the State Government may make rules prescribing standards of humidification; regulating the methods used for artificially increasing humidity of the air; and directing prescribed test for determining the humidity of the air to be correctly carried out and recorded; and prescribing methods to be adopted for securing adequate ventilation and cooling of the air in the workrooms. {Section 1S} 


  • No room in any factory should lie overcrowded to an extent injurious to the health of the workers employed therein. {Section 16} 


  • In every part of a factory where workers are working or passing, there should be provided and maintained sufficient and suitable lighting, natural or artificial, or both. {Section 17} 


  • In every factory effective arrangements should be made to provide and maintain at suitable points conveniently’ situated for all workers employed therein a sufficient supply of wholesome drinking water. {Section 18} 


  • In every factory sufficient latrine and urinal accommodation of prescribed types should be provided conveniently situated and accessible to workers, separately for male and female workers, at all times while they are at the factory. {Section 19} 


  • In every factory there should be provided a sufficient number of spittoons in convenient places and they shall be maintained in a clean and hygienic condition. {Section 20}


 Safety 



  • The machinery in every factory should be properly fenced. {Section 21} 


  • Only the trained adult male worker, wearing tight fitting clothing which should be supplied by the Occupier, should be allowed to work near the machinery in motion. {Section 22} 


  • No young person shall be employed on dangerous machinery, unless he is fully instructed as to the danger arising in connection with the machine and the precautions to be observed and he has received sufficient training in work at the machine. {Section 23} 


  • Suitable arrangements should be made to provide striking gear and devices for cutting off power in case of emergencies. {Section 24} 


  • Sufficient precautions should be taken with regard to self-acting machines to avoid accidents. {Section 25} 


  • To prevent danger, all machinery driven by power should be encased and effectively guarded. {Section 26} 


  • Woman worker and children should not be employed in any part of the factory for pressing cotton in which a cotton-opener is at work. {Section 27} 


  • Hoists and Lifts in a factory should be periodically inspected by the Competent Person. {Section 28}


  • Lifting Machines, Chains, Ropes and Lifting Tackles in a factory should be periodically inspected by the Competent Person. {Section 29} 


  • Where process of grinding is carried on, a notice indicating the maximum safe working peripheral speed of every grind-stone or abrasive wheel etc., should be fixed to the revolving machinery.{Section 30} 


  • Where any plant or machinery or any part thereof is operated at a pressure above atmospheric pressure, effective measures should be taken to ensure that the safe working pressure of such plant of machinery or part is not exceeded.{Section 31} 


  • Floors, stairs and means of access should be soundly constructed and properly maintained. {Section 32} 


  • Pits, sumps opening in floor etc., should be either securely covered or fenced. {Section 33} 


  • No workman shall be employed in any factory to lift, carry or move any load so heavy as to be likely to cause him injury. {Section 34} 


  • Necessary protective equipment should be provided to protect the eyes of the workman, where the working involves risk of injury to the eyes. {Section 35} 


  • Suitable precautionary arrangements should be taken against dangerous fumes, gases etc. {Section 36} 


  • Every practicable measures should be taken to prevent any explosion where the manufacturing process produces dust, gas, fume or vapour etc. {Section 37} 


  • Every practicable measures should be taken to prevent the outbreak of fire and its spread, both internally and externally. {Section 38} 


  • The Inspector of Factories can ask the Occupier or the Manager of the Factory to furnish drawings, specification etc., of any building, machinery or a plant, in case he feels that condition of such building, machinery or the plant may likely to cause danger to human life. {Section 39} 


  • The Inspector of Factories can suggest suitable measures of steps to take by the Occupier or Manager for implementation, when he feels the condition of any building, machinery or a plant may likely to cause danger to human life. {Section 40} 


  • Wherein 1000 or more workmen are employed in a factory, the Occupier should appoint a Safety Officer to look after the safety aspects of the factory. {Section 40-B}                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Welfare 




  • Adequate and suitable ‘washing facilities’ should be provided in every factory. {Section 42} 


  • Provision should be made to provide suitable places for keeping clothing not worn during working hours and for the drying of wet clothing.{Section 43} 


  • In every factory, suitable arrangements for sitting should be provided and maintained for all workers obliged to work in a standing position, in order that they may take advantage of any opportunities for rest which may occur in the course of their work.{Section 44} 


  • First-Aid Boxes with the prescribed contents should be provided and maintained so as to be readily accessible during all working hours at the rate of at least one Box for every 150 workmen. {Section 45} 


  • In every factory wherein more than 500 workers are employed there should be provided and maintained an Ambulance Room of the prescribed size, containing the prescribed equipment and in the charge of such medical and nursing staff. {Section 45(4)} 


  • The Occupier should provide a canteen for the use of workers in every factory, where the number of workmen employed is more than 250.{Section 46} 


  • In every factory wherein more than 150 workers are employed adequate and suitable shelters or rest rooms and a suitable lunch room, with provision for drinking water, where workers can eat meals brought by them, should be provided and maintained for the use of the workers. {Section 47} 


  • In every factory wherein more than 30 women workers are ordinarily employed there should be provided and maintained a suitable room for the use of children under the age of six years of such women. {Section 48} 


  • In every factory wherein more than 500 or more workers are employed, the Occupier should employ in the factory such number of Welfare Officers as may be prescribed. {Section 49} 


 Working Hours of Adult Workers 


  • Ordinarily, a worker should not be allowed to work in a factory for more than 48 hours in any week. {Section 51} 


  • The workman should have one holiday for a whole day in a week. Where he was asked to work on his scheduled weekly holiday, he should be given compensatory holiday within three days of his scheduled weekly holiday. {Section 52} 


  • After obtaining approval from the Inspector of Factories, the workman shall be allowed to avail the compensatory holidays unavailed by him, within that month during which the compensatory holidays are due or within two months immediately following that month. {Section 53} 


  • Subject to the provisions of Section 51 no worker should be allowed to work more than nine hours in a day. {Section 54} 


  • The timings of work should be fixed in such a way that no worker should be required to work continuously for more than five hours; and he should be allowed to avail an interval for rest of at least half-an hour during his work in a day. {Section 55} 


  • The period of work of a workman should be so arranged that inclusive of his interval for rest under Section 55 should not spread over more than ten and a half hours in any day. {Section 56}.  



                          General Duties of the Occupier 


Every Occupier should ensure, so far is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare of all workers while they are at work in the factory. 
Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (1), the matters to which such duty extends, include – 




  • the provisions and maintenance of plant and systems of work in the factory that are safe and without risks to health; . 


  • the arrangements in the factory for ensuring safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substance; 


  • the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as are necessary to ensure .the health and safety of all workers at work; 


  • the maintenance of all places of work in the factory in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and the provision and maintenance of such means of access to, and egress from, such places as are safe and without such risks; 


  • the provision, maintenance or monitoring of such working environment in the factory for the workers that is safe, without risks to health and adequate s regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work. 


  • c) Except in such cases as may be prescribed, every Occupier should prepare, and, so often as may be appropriate, revise, a written statement of his general policy with respect to the health and safety of the workers at work and the organization and arrangements for the time being in force for carrying out that policy, and to bring the statement and any revision thereof to the notice of all the workers in such manner as may be prescribed. {Section 7-A}                                                                                                                                                                         Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016




  • The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 10, 2016 by the Minister for Labour and Employment, Mr. Bandaru Dattatreya.
     


  • The Bill amends the Factories Act, 1948. The Act regulates the safety, health and welfare of factory workers.  The Bill amends provisions related to overtime hours of work.
     


  • Power to make rules on various matters: The Act permits the state government to prescribe rules on a range of matters, including double employment, details of adult workers to be included in the factory’s register, conditions related to exemptions to certain workers, etc. The Bill gives such rule making powers to the central government as well.


  • Powers to make rules for exemptions to workers: Under the Act, the state government may make rules to (i) define persons who hold management or confidential positions; and (ii) exempt certain types of adult workers (e.g. those engaged for urgent repairs) from fixed working hours, periods of rest, etc. The Bill gives such rule making powers to both, the central and state governments. 


  • Under the Act, such rules will not apply for more than five years. The Bill modifies this provision to state that the five-year limitation will not apply to rules made after the enactment of this Bill.


  • Overtime hours of work in a quarter: The Act permits the state government to make rules related to the regulation of overtime hours of work. However, the total number of hours of overtime must not exceed 50 hours for a quarter.  The Bill raises this limit to 100 hours.  Rules in this regard may be prescribed by the central government as well.


  • Overtime hours if factory has higher workload: The Act enables the state government to permit adult workers in a factory to work overtime hours if the factory has an exceptional work load. Further the total number of hours of overtime work in a quarter must not exceed 75.  The Bill permits the central or state government to raise this limit to 115.​


  • Overtime in public interest: The Bill introduces a provision which permits the central or state government to extend the 115-hour limit to 125 hours. It may do so because of (i) excessive work load in the factory and (ii) public interest.


 
 
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Saturday, 23rd Feb 2019, 10:54:59 AM

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