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Provisions under Factories Act :
Factories Act, 1948
This is one of the earliest welfare legislation. The object is to secure to workers health, safety, welfare, proper working hours and other benefits.- - In Bhikusa Yamasa Kshatriya v. UOI AIR 1963 SC 1591, it was observed that Factories Act is enacted primarily with object to of protecting workers employed in factories against industrial and occupational hazards. - - The Act requires that workers should work in healthy and sanitary conditions and for that purpose it provides that precautions should be taken for safety of workers and prevention of accidents. - - Incidental provisions have also been made’.
In S M Datta v. State of Gujarat 2001(5) SCALE 457 = 100 FJR 26 = 2001 AIR SCW 3133, it was observed, ‘First Factories Act was passed in 1880. Factories Act, 1948 was engrafted in the Statute Book where emphasis had been on the welfare of the workers. Factory Inspectors have been placed with heavy responsibility on them. - - The Act undoubtedly is a welfare legislation and cannot be termed to be a complete code in itself. - - In this case, it was held that if a workman is found working during period not notified beforehand, prosecution can be launched.
'Factory' means any premises where 10 or more workers are working and a manufacturing process is carried out with aid of power (20 if manufacture is without aid of power). [section 2(m)]. ‘Manufacturing process’ means process of altering, repairing, ornamenting, finishing, packing, oiling, washing, cleaning, breaking up, demolishing or otherwise treating or adopting any article or substance. It also includes * pumping oil, water, sewage or any other substance * Generating, transforming or transmitting power * Composing, typing, printing * Constructing, repairing, breaking of ships or vessels * Preserving articles in cold storage. [section 2(k)]. - - Worker means a person employed in any manufacturing process or cleaning or any work incidental to manufacturing process. It includes persons employed through contractor. [section 2(l)].
If the employment is less than these numbers, the unit gets covered under Shop & Establishment Act. - - In ESIC v. Jaihind Roadways 2001 LLR 570 = 101 FJR 38 (Kar HC), it was held that transportation of goods on contract basis from one place to another is not ‘manufacturing process’.
'Factory' should be licensed / registered with Chief Inspector of Factories (termed as Director of Industrial Health & Safety in some States). [section 6]. The license / registration has to be renewed every year by paying prescribed fees.
Occupier of the factory – ‘Occupier’ of a factory means the person who has ultimate control over the affairs of factory. It includes a partner in case of firm and director in case of a company. In case of Government company, 'occupier' need not be a director. In that case, person appointed to manage affairs of the factory shall be ‘occupier’. [section 2(n)]. - - Name of 'occupier' of the factory should be informed to Factories Inspector. The 'occupier' will be held responsible if provisions of Factories Act are not complied with. - - He has to give notice 15 days before he begins to occupy the premises as a factory, giving details as prescribed in section 7.
Besides 'occupier', name of 'Manager' should also be informed. Any change in name of Manager shall also be informed. [section 7(4)].
Duties of occupier – The occupier shall ensure, as far as possible, health, safety and welfare of workers while they are working in factory. [section 7A].
Duties of every manufacturer – Every manufacturer or importer of ay article or substance in factory shall design it in such a way that it is safe to use and carry. Adequate safety information about the article should be given. [section 7B].
Facilities and conveniences - The factory should be kept clean. [section 11]. There should be arrangement to dispose of wastes and effluents. [section 12]. Ventilation should be adequate. Reasonable temperature for comfort of employees should be maintained. [section 13]. Dust and fumes should be controlled below permissible limits. [section 14]. Artificial humidification should be at prescribed standard level. [section 15]. Overcrowding should be avoided. [section 16]. Adequate lighting, drinking water, latrines, urinals and spittoons should be provided. [sections 17 to 19]. Adequate spittoons should be provided. [section 20].
Welfare - Adequate facilities for washing, sitting, storing cloths when not worn during working hours. [section 42]. If a worker has to work in standing position, sitting arrangement to take short rests should be provided. [section 44]. Adequate First aid boxes shall be provided and maintained [section 45].
Facilities in case of large factories - Following facilities are required to be provided by large factories - * Ambulance room if 500 or more workers are employed * Canteen if 250 or more workers are employed. It should be sufficiently lighted and ventilated and suitably located. [section 46]. * Rest rooms / shelters with drinking water when 150 or more workmen are employed [section 47] * Crèches if 30 or more women workers are employed. [section 48] * Full time Welfare Officer if factory employs 500 or more workers [section 49] * Safety Officer if 1,000 or more workmen are employed.
Safety - All machinery should be properly fenced to protect workers when machinery is in motion. [section 21 to 27]. Hoists and lifts should be in good condition and tested periodically. [section 28 and 29]. Pressure plants should be checked as per rules. [section 31]. Floor, stairs and means of access should be of sound construction and free form obstructions. [section 32]. Safety appliances for eyes, dangerous dusts, gas, fumes should be provided. [sections 35 and 36]. Worker is also under obligation to use the safety appliances. He should not misuse any appliance, convenience or other things provided. [section 111]. In case of hazardous substances, additional safety measures have been prescribed. [sections 41A to 41H]. - - Adequate fire fighting equipment should be available. [section 38]. - - Safety Officer should be appointed if number of workers in factory are 1,000 or more. [section 40B].
Working hours - A worker cannot be employed for more than 48 hours in a week. [section 51]. Weekly holiday is compulsory. If he is asked to work on weekly holiday, he should have full holiday on one of three days immediately or after the normal day of holiday. [section 52(1)]. He cannot be employed for more than 9 hours in a day. [section 54]. At least half an hour rest should be provided after 5 hours. [section 55]. Total period of work inclusive of rest interval cannot be more than 10.5 hours. [section 56]. A worker should be given a weekly holiday. Overlapping of shifts is not permitted. [section 58]. Notice of period of work should be displayed. [section 61].
Overtime wages - If a worker works beyond 9 hours a day or 48 hours a week, overtime wages are double the rate of wages are payable. [section 59(1)]. A workman cannot work in two factories. There is restriction on double employment. [section 60]. However, overtime wages are not payable when the worker is on tour. Total working hours including overtime should not exceed 60 in a week and total overtime hours in a quarter should not exceed 50. Register of overtime should be maintained. - - An employee working outside the factory premises like field workers etc. on tour outside headquarters are not entitled to overtime. – R Ananthan v. Avery India 1972(42) FJR 304 (Mad HC) * Director of Stores v. P S Dube 1978 Lab IC 390 = 52 FJR 299 = 1978 I LLN 464 = 36 FLR 420.
Employment of women - A woman worker cannot be employed beyond the hours 6 a.m. to 7.00 pm. State Government can grant exemption to any factory or group or class of factories, but no woman can be permitted to work during 10 PM to 5 AM. Shift change can be only after weekly or other holiday and not in between. [section 66].
Record of workmen - A register (muster roll) of all workers should be maintained. No worker should be permitted to work unless his name is in the register. Record of overtime is also required to be maintained. [section 62].
Leave - A worker is entitled in every calendar year annual leave with wages at the rate of one day for every 20 days of work performed in the previous calendar year, provided that he had worked for 240 days or more in the previous calendar year. Child worker is entitled to one day per every 15 days. While calculating 240 days, earned leave, maternity leave upto 12 weeks and lay off days will be considered, but leave shall not be earned on those days. [section 79]. – Leave can be accumulated upto 30 days in case of adult and 40 days in case of child. Leave admissible is exclusive of holidays occurring during or at either end of the leave period. Wage for period must be paid before leave begins, if leave is for 4 or more days. [section 81]. Leave cannot be taken for more than three times in a year. Application for leave should not normally be refused. [These are minimum benefits. Employer can, of course, give additional or higher benefits].
Wages for OT and leave salary - 'Wages' for leave encashment and overtime will include dearness allowance and cash equivalent of any benefit. However, it will not include bonus or overtime.
Child employment - Child below age of 14 cannot be employed. [section 67]. Child above 14 but below 15 years of age can be employed only for 4.5 hours per day or during the night. [section 71]. He should be certified fit by a certifying surgeon. [section 68]. He cannot be employed during night between 10 pm to 6 am. [section 71]. A person over 15 but below 18 years of age is termed as ‘adolescent’. He can be employed as an adult if he has a certificate of fitness for a full day's work from certifying surgeon. An adolescent is not permitted to work between 7 pm and 6 am. [section 70]. There are more restrictions on employment of female adolescent. - - Register of child workers should be maintained. [section 73].
Display on notice board - A notice containing abstract of the Factories Act and the rules made thereunder, in English and local language should be displayed. Name and address of Factories Inspector and the certifying surgeon should also be displayed on notice board. [section 108(1)].
Notice of accidents, diseases etc. - Notice of any accident causing disablement of more than 48 hours, dangerous occurrences and any worker contacting occupational disease should be informed to Factories Inspector. [section 88]. Notice of dangerous occurrences and specified diseases should be given. [sections 88A and 89].
No punishment to Welfare Officer without sanction - No punishment can be imposed on Welfare Officer without prior sanction of Chief Commissioner. However, a simple order of termination as per terms of appointment is not a ‘punishment’ and such termination order is valid. – Arun Kumar Bali v. Government of NCT of Delhi 2002 LLR 359 (Del HC) – relying on Associated Cement Co Ltd. v. P N Sharma AIR 1965 SC 1595.
Obligation regarding hazardous processes / substances - Information about hazardous substances / processes should be given. Workers and general public in vicinity should be informed about dangers and health hazards. Safety measures and emergency plan should be ready. Safety Committee should be appointed.
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Arun K Mishra
Posted 27th October 2006 From India, Bahadurgarh
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