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Business Environment and Law-Factories Act, 1948

Rights Of Workers (Section 111A Inserted By 1987 Amendment Act) Factories Act, 1948

   Posted On :  15.05.2018 12:20 am

A worker shall have the right to (i) obtain from the occupier information relating to workers’ health and safety at work; (ii) get trained in the factory or at a training centre or institution when sponsored by the occupier and approved by the Chief Inspector; and (iii) represent to the Inspector, directly or otherwise, the matter of inadequacy of health or safety in the factory.

Rights Of Workers (Section 111A Inserted By 1987 Amendment Act)
 
 
A worker shall have the right to (i) obtain from the occupier information relating to workers’ health and safety at work; (ii) get trained in the factory or at a training centre or institution when sponsored by the occupier and approved by the Chief Inspector; and (iii) represent to the Inspector, directly or otherwise, the matter of inadequacy of health or safety in the factory.
 

Occupier [Section 2(M)]

 
 
Any person who has ultimate control and management over the affairs of the factory will be deemed to be an occupier.

1. In a partnership firm, the individual partners and in the case of association of individuals, members thereof shall be regarded as occupier.
 
2. In companies, the directors are regarded to be occupier because they are vicariously liable for the functions of the company.
 
3. In government owned and controlled factories, the person or persons appointed to manage the affairs of the factory shall be deemed to be the occupier.
 
4. In the case of partnership firm or association of individuals, and partner or member may be prosecuted. A manager cannot be regarded as an occupier, unless he is entrusted with the control and management of the factory.
 
5. Owner, lessee or a licensee having control over the factory with regard to its management is deemed to be the occupier [Emperor vs. Ram Pratap, (1896) 20 Bom.423].
 

Licensing And Registration Of Factories [Section 6]

 
 
Under Section 6, the State government may make rules regarding the submission of plans and approval, licensing and registration of factories. The site chosen to locate the factory must have the previous permission in writing of the State government of Chief Inspector of factories. Such permission will be granted to applicant unless he had duly complied with the directions of the government.

Every application must be duly accompanied with a certified plan, showing all the details together with the challan representing the fees payable for such registration, licensing or renewal of licence. If permission is not granted either by the State government or the Chief inspector, within 3 months from the date of submission of such application, permission is presumed to have been granted.
 
On the refusal of the State government to grant permission, the aggrieved applicant can prefer an appeal within the 30 days from the date of refusal. Every order refusing to grant permission or licence must be a speaking order (a speaking order is an order passed after hearing both the sides and it is passed with reasons stated). Licence or permission cannot be denied merely on the direction by the government without hearing the applicant [Shihabudeen Kunju vs. State of Kerala, (1985) 2L.L.J.106].
 
Under Section 7, the occupier must give 15 days notice to the State government or Chief Inspector of factories before he begins to occupy or use any premises as a factory. Such notice should contain the following:

            The name and situation of the factory;
 
            The name and address of the occupier;
 
            The name and address of the owner of the premises or building (including the precincts thereof);
 
            The address to which communications relating to the factory may be sent;
 
            The nature of the manufacturing process to be carried on in the factory during the next 12 months;
 
            The total rated horse power installed or to be installed in the factory (not including the rated horse power of any separate stand-by plant);
 
            The name of the manager of the factory for the purpose of this Act;
 
            The number of workers likely to be employed in the factory; and
 
            Such other particulars as may be prescribed.
 
It is essential to intimate by notice the inspector with a copy addressed to the Chief Inspector of the factories, if any new person is appointed as manager in a factory. Even an acting manager or a person without any designation as manager will be deemed to be an occupier, if control and management of the factory is governed by them. In the absence of a designated person as manager who ever is an occupier is deemed to be an occupier. [Kama Kishore Jhunjhunwala vs. Prescribed Authority, (1976) 32 F.L.R.355].
 

Penalty For Obstructing Inspector (Section 9)

 
 
When a factory inspector is prevented or obstructed from exercising his powers, such person shall be punished with imprisonment for 6 months or fine upto Rs, 10,000 or with both.
 

Certifying Surgeons (Section10)

 
 
Certifying surgeons are qualified medical practitioners, who are appointed by the State government for specified areas or factories. With the approval of the State government, a certifying surgeon may be authorized and qualified medical practitioners to exercise any of the powers used by him. However, an occupier of a factory or any parson who becomes directly or indirectly interested in such factory cannot be appointed as a certifying surgeon. These restrictions could be exempted by the State Government in appropriate cases by passing orders in writing.
 

Health, Safety And Welfare Measures

 
 
By way of implementing the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Labour in India, the present Factories Act, has underlined the importance of health, safety and welfare of the workers. It has made special provisions for health under Sections 11 to 20, for safety under Sections 21 to 40 including Chapter IV A (1987 Amendment Act) and welfare of the workers under Sections 42 to 50.
 

Health (Sections 11 To 20)

 
 
Cleanliness (Section 11) : House keeping is the modern term used for keeping the factory premises clean and tidy. Factories must not only be kept clean but must be maintained with cleanliness in such a way that accumulation of dirt and refuse must be avoided. Constant cleaning of effluvia (disagreeable vapours) arising from any drain is needed. Removal of dirt and refuse alone is not enough, but they have to be disposed of in a suitable manner without causing detriment to the residents of the locality.

Disposal of wastes and effluents (Section 2) : Wastes and effluents are to be disposed of in order to maintain the hygiene inside the factory. However, such wastes cannot be let out without treatment. This is because wastes would pollute the surroundings. Norms laid down by the State Pollution Control Board have to be observed strictly in this regard.
 
Ventilation and Temperature (Section 13): Ventilation and air circulation ensure normal health to the workmen. In order to maintain ventilation and fresh air circulation, temperature in the working place should be secured. For this purpose, the interior walls and roofs of the factory must be properly designed and provided with heat resisting or heatproof materials by way of insulation. Reasonable care should be taken for colour washing interior walls with psychologically pleasing colours such as light green, etc.
 
Dust and Fumes (Section 14) : Effective measures have to be adopted in order to prevent the workers inhaling dusts, fumes and other impurities that are present (which cannot be seen through naked eye) in the air. Control devices or tools have to be used for the purpose of preventing dust and fumes. Use of exhaust fans is highly recommended in such places.
 
No stationary internal combustion engine is allowed to be operated unless proper arrangements are made to prevent accumulation of injurious fume are caused thereon. [Gregeon vs. Hick Hargreavaes (1955) All E.R.860].
 
Artificial Humidification (Section 15) : In factories where artificial humidification is adopted from the point of view of manufacturing a product (e.g., in a textile mill), the norms prescribed by the Government must be strictly followed for increasing or decreasing or maintaining such artificial humidification, Humidifiers for keeping air moisture at even level shall be provided.
 
Water used in these factories must constantly be changed and it must be pure. Otherwise it will give room for water borne diseases among workers.
 
Overcrowding (Section16) : Every worker requires at least 350 cubic feet (now after the commencement of the Act, 500 cubic feet) for the purpose of enabling him to work with ease and comfort ensuring mobility.

However, while calculating the aggregate space, no account shall be taken of any space, which is more than 14 feet above the level of the floor. The Chief Inspector of Factories, by notice may specify the number of persons to be employed in a room.
 
Lighting (Section17) : Too much light throws glare on normal vision. Diffused light does not help to promote proper vision. Hence, the required light with minimum power must be provided. Glazed windows and sky lights through which rooms are ventilated have to be constantly cleaned from the inner and outer surfaces. Glares and shadows must be avoided from distorting the vision of eye. Otherwise, workmen would strain their eyes leading to risks.
 
Drinking water (Section18) : Potable, pure or wholesome drinking water shall be made available to workmen at convenient points, A notice board must be displayed indicating availability of such facility. The notice shall also contain the caption, ‘drinking water’ in local language. If the strength of the workers increases beyond 250, cool water equipment must be provided to ensure supply of chilled water. The points at which drinking water is supplied shall legibly marked “Drinking water” in a language understood by a majority of employees. Such water points must be located beyond 6 meters or any washing place, urinals, latrine, spittoon and open drainage, carrying silage or effluent. Shorter distance shall be permitted for locating water points only with the approval of Chief Inspector of Factories.
 
Latrines and Urinals (Section 19) : For a human being, two places are very important and both of them have to be kept clean and tidy. They are – (i) Latrines and urinals; (ii) places where people rest and relax.
 
Factories where more than 250 workers are ordinarily employed, the latrine and urinal accommodation shall be of the prescribed sanitary type. The floors and internal walls upto a height of 3 feet and above from the floor level should be laid in glazed tiles. If tiles are not provided for, the latrines cannot be kept clean, as the bad water would pass through the pores of latrine walls. Sweepers shall be employed whose primary duty is to keep the latrines and urinals clean and washing places tidy.

 Spittoons (Section 20) : Spittoons are nothing but pots that are specially provided for, into which, the workers have to spit. Workers cannot spit, as they like, as that would spoil the cleanliness and hygiene of the factory. Sufficient number of spittoons should be provided, taking into account the number of persons employed. A fine of Rs.5 would be imposed on any one who violated the rule.
 
Safety (Sections 21 To 40)
 
Safety is prior to security. According to this concept, the present Factories Act ensures several safety measures as sound in Sections 21 to 40, which are enumerated below:
 
Fencing of Machinery (Section 21)
 
In every factory the following namely,
 
1. Every moving part of a prime mover, and every fly-wheel connected to a prime mover, whether the prime mover or fly-wheel is in the engine house or not;
 
2. The headrace and tailrace of every water wheel and water-turbine;
 
3. Any part of a stock-bar, which projects beyond the headstock of a lathe;
 
4. Every part of an electric generator, a motor or rotary converter;
 
5. Every part of transmission machinery; and
 
6. Every dangerous part of any other machinery must be fenced in a secured manner by substantial construction, which should be constantly maintained. They have to be kept in proper position when the parts of machinery are in motion (Section 21).
 
The manager of the factory should take particular care to provide safeguard devices to keep the machine in tact, so that it cannot come into contact with workers and thereby cause injury.
 
Work on or near Machinery in motion (Section 22) :
 
Such of those parts of machine that are in motion may have to be constantly examined in order to ensure that there is no friction, The examination, including lubrication on these moving parts of the machinery

 must be done only by the adult male workers with tight fitting clothes, It is better such tight fitting clothes are supplied by the occupier.
 
Employment of Young persons on Dangerous machines (Section 23):
 
Where complex machinery is functioning in a factory, it becomes very essential to stop any machinery either by striking a gear or for cutting off power. In old type of machines, driving belts were mounted on fast and loose pulleys. They were used forming part of transmission machinery. Hence, power must be cut off in order to prevent the driving belts riding upon moving shafts. Suitable, efficient mechanical device must be provided for instantaneously stopping the machines.
 
Self-acting Machines (Section 25) :
 
In a factory, traversing part of a self acting machine together with a material carried on by it could be allowed to run over a space under which any person is liable to pass.
However, such machinery shall be allowed to traverse both outward and inward directions only beyond a distance of 45 cms from any fixed structure. The fixed structure shall not be part of the machine. Workers must be capable of passing under the moving part of self-acting machine in connection with their employment.
 
Casing of new machinery (Section 26) :
 
Power driven machinery, revolving shaft, spindle wheel and pinion should be properly encased, i.e., covered and guarded effectively. Spur wheel, helical wheel, fly wheel, friction gear not requiring adjustments which are in constant motion should be safely encased. Even hiring these machines without the safeguards is punishable with fine upto Rs.500 and imprisonment for 3 months or both.
 
Prohibition of Employment of Women and Children near Cotton openers (Section27) :
 
Women and children are generally prohibited in being employed in pressing cotton in which a cotton opener is at work. If the feed end of a cotton opener is portioned by a separate wall or screen extending upto the ceiling or roof from the delivery end, then women and children could be employed on the side of the feeding end and definitely not at the delivery end.

Hoists and lifts (Section28) :
 
In a factory where hoists and lifts are in use, their construction must have been done out of quality materials with adequate strength to withstand the strain of weight. Such lifts should be fitted with gates and enclosures. Lifts have to be thoroughly examined at least once in six months by competent persons, besides this, routine and other examinations have to be conducted. Entries have to be made recording the date of examination.
Lifting machine, chains, and ropes and lifting tackles (Section29) :
 
Lifting machines and cranes that are used in a factory must be properly fastened and strongly coupled with chains and ropes. These chains and ropes tied up with the hoists sufficiently protect the lifts and cranes in contingencies like power failure or mechanical failure. The lifts should be fitted with ropes or chains connected with a cage so that the balance could be maintained with weights. The chief Inspector of factories has to ensure whether these lifts and cranes including the ropes are maintained properly.
 
Revolving machinery (Section 30) :
 
In the case of use of revolving or grinding machines, it is necessary that the optimum speed should be indicated for the safe working of the machine. Although indications may be there signifying the maximum speed, the optimum speed must be written on the machine for the safe use of it. This would enable prevention of risk to the user and reduction of strain to the machine. Such a notice must be displayed on the peripheral space of the grinding stone, abrasive wheel, etc.
 

Hazardous Processes

 
 
Section 41-A-41-H: Hazardous process has become an important subject after the Bhopal gas tragedy. Precautionary measures and for handling situations involving hazardous processes have been highlighted under Chapter IV-A, Why is hazardous process has become a major issue, so as to enforce the provisions under Chapter IV-A. It is for this reason; a new concept under hazardous processes has been introduced with effect from 1.10.1987.
 
With view to avoid hazards, in storing, handling, transporting and using dangerous materials, these new provisions have been provided by way of addition to the existing ones under safety measures.

 

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