Factories Act 1948
The Factories Act 1948 is a comprehensive piece of legislation that covers all the legal aspects regarding factories namely approval, licensing and registration of factories, the inspecting authorities, health, safety, welfare provisions, working hours, employment of adult and young children, annual leave and penalties.
OBJECTIVES OF THE FACTORIES ACT, 1948
The objectives of the Factories Act, 1948 are:
ENSURE SAFETY OF WORKERS
Factories Act 1948 made the adoption of safety measures for the workers of the factory compulsorily. Section 21 to 41 of the act contains the measures to be adopted by the factory for the safety of the workers. The basic purpose is to safeguard the workers from the hazardous processes and raw materials that are used in production processes.
REGULATION OF REGISTRATION, APPROVAL AND LICENSING OF FACTORIES
To regulate the unnecessary growth of the factories, the authorities set up the proper procedure for licensing of the factories. The authorities approve the plans for the factory set up after considering the layout of factory and ensuring that its set up is not against the public policy.
TO MANDATE THE HEALTH AND WELFARE PROVISIONS
The object of this act is to make the factories to follow the provisions regarding the health and welfare of the workers. The sound health of the persons working in the factory is the prime requirement of the efficient working process. Also the welfare of the workers should be taken care by providing them facilities of washrooms, canteens etc.
TO SET UP THE INSPECTING STAFF
Under this act, the team of inspecting staff consisting of chief inspector, additional chief inspector, joint chief inspector, deputy chief inspector, inspector and certifying surgeon is appointed. This is done to ensure the implementation of the provisions of this act to the factories safely.
TO REGULATE THE APPOINTMENT OF WORKERS
The women workers and young persons are appointed in the factories. This act aims at setting their welfare and safety measures, their working hours and ensure safe working environment.
The other objectives of this act are:
- To protect human beings from unduly long hours of daily strain or manual labor.
- To regulate working conditions in the factory.
- To provide for prevention of accidents.
- To maintain effective supervision by state government by appointment of inspecting staff.
APPLICATION/ SCOPE OF THE FACTORIES ACT, 1948
This Act extends to the whole of India including the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. This act applies to all the factories including the factories belonging to Central government or State Government.
APPROVAL, LICENSING AND REGISTRATION OF FACTORIES
The approval, licensing and registration of Factories are governed under the Section 6 of the Factories Act 1948. The whole process is as follows:
SECTION 6: RULES REGARDING APPROVAL, LICENSING AND REGISTRATION OF FACTORIES
The State Government may make the rules regarding the approval, licensing and registration of the factories under section 6 of the act. The following are the rules:
- Rule requiring the previous permission in writing of the state government or the chief inspector to be obtained for the site on which the factory is to be constructed.
- Rule requiring for the purpose of considering application for such permission the submission of plans and specifications.
- Rule prescribing the nature of such plans and specifications and by whom they shall be certified.
- Rule requiring the registration and licensing of factories or any class or description of factories and prescribing the fees payable for such registration and licensing and renewal of licenses.
- Rule requiring that no license shall be granted or renewed unless the notice specified in section 7 has been given.
FILING OF APPLICATION
The applicant has to file the application with the authorities specifying the reason or purpose to open the factory along with the application fees. It is the duty of the occupier of the factory to sent the registration and licensing fees along with.
GRANT OF PERMISSION
After filing the application, it is purely the decision of the authorities to grant the permission after considering all the details mentioned in the application. Where an application for such permission is accompanied by plans is sent to the appropriate authority by registered post and no order is communicated to the applicant within 3months from the date of dispatch of the application, it will be presumed that the permission is granted to set up the factory. In case the state government sent refusal of the application, an appeal can be filed against the order of the state government to the central government within 30 days of the refusal received.
REGISTRATION AND LICENSING
The liability to apply for registration and obtaining a license is on the occupier. The failure to apply for the registration of the factory and a license is a punishable offence under section 92 of the act.
SECTION 7: NOTICE BY THE OCCUPIER
U/S 7(1): The occupier is required to serve a notice at least 15 days before he begins to occupy or use any premises as a factory to the chief inspector. The notice must contain the following particulars:
- The name and situation of the factory.
- The name and address of the occupier.
- The name and address of the owner of the building.
- The address to which the communication relating to the factory may be sent.
- The nature of the manufacturing process to be carried on the factory during next 12 months.
- The total rated horse power installed or to be installed in the factory, which shall not include the rated horse power or any separate stand by plant.
- The number of workers likely to be employed in the factory.
- All other particulars that may be prescribed or required by the authorities.
U/S 7(3): In case a factory is engaged in manufacturing activities for less than 180 days in a year and again resumes its working, then the occupier has to sent a notice to the authorities regarding the resume of the work. The notice must be sent within 30 days before the commencement of the work.
U/S 7(4): The occupier has to file a notice of the appointment of the new manager in the factory to the Chief Inspector. The notice is to be filed within 7 days from the date on which such person takes over the charge.
U/S 7(5): During any period for which no person has been designated as manager of a factory or during which the person designated does not manage the factory, any person found acting as a manager or if no such person is found, the occupier himself, shall be deemed to the manager of the factory for the purpose of this act.
THE INSPECTING STAFF
The state government may appoint the following authorities as a part of inspecting staff under the factories act:
Chief Inspector is appointed by giving the notification in the official gazette by the state government. Chief inspector can exercise the power given to him under factories act as well as powers of an inspector. A complaint by chief inspector is considered as a complaint from inspector. He or she is deemed to be a public servant as per the Indian Penal Code. A chief inspector has to relinquish his charge as chief inspector if he becomes interested in the operations of the factory.
ADDITIONAL CHIEF INSPECTOR, JOINT CHIEF INSPECTOR, DEPUTY CHIEF INSPECTOR
According to the Factories (Amendment) Act 1976, the state government appoints the additional chief inspector, joint chief inspector and deputy chief inspector by giving notification in the official gazette. They are deemed to be public servant under the purview of Indian Penal code. They can exercise the power of inspector as well as the powers given to them by mentioning in official gazette.
Inspector is also appointed by giving the notification in the official gazette by state government. Every District Magistrate shall be an inspector for his district. Every inspector is also a public servant in the purview of the Indian Penal Code.
Under section 9: Powers of Inspector: The following are the powers of an Inspector under the Factories Act, 1948:
- He may enter any premises of the factory with his assistants or any public authority.
- He may examine the factory premises, plant, machinery, article or substance.
- He may inquire into an accident or dangerous occurrence which resulted into any kind of bodily injury.
- He may examine any accounting records or registers of the factory.
- He may seize or take copies of any register, record or other document of the factory.
- He may direct the occupier to remain the any factory premises untouched for the purpose of enquiry.
- He may take measurements and photographs and make such recordings as he considers necessary for the purpose of any examination taking with him any necessary instrument or equipment.
- He may exercise any other power as may be prescribed.
Under Section 118 of the factories act 1948, it is the statutory duty of the inspector not to disclose any confidential information about the factory obtained by him during the course of examination.
CERTIFYING SURGEONS (UNDER SECTION 10)
State government is authorized to appoint any medical practitioner as certifying surgeon by giving notification in the official gazette. A certifying surgeon is authorized to nominate any qualified medical practitioner to exercise any of his powers under the act for a specified period.
Under section 10(3) no person can act as a certifying surgeon if he is an occupier of that factory or is interested in the working of the factory.
Duties of Certifying Surgeon: The following are the duties of certifying surgeon:
- The examination and certification of young persons under the factories act, 1948.
- The examination of persons engaged in factories in such dangerous occupations or processes as may be prescribed.
- The exercise of the medical supervision in any
factory in respect of:
- Illness that has occurred due to the nature of manufacturing process.
- Injury that is likely to be caused to the health of the workers by the reason of the adoption of any new manufacturing process.
- Injury that is likely to occur to the health of young persons.
OCCUPIER AND HIS DUTIES
The term Occupier is defined under Section 2(h) of the Factories Act 1948. Occupier of the factory means a person who has ultimate control over the affairs of the factory and where the said affairs are entrusted to a managing agent, such agent shall deemed to be the occupier of the factory. This includes:
- Any of the individual partners or members who collectively open the factory.
- Any one of director shall be deemed to be occupier, in case of a company.
- The person or persons appointed to look after the affairs of the factory by the Central Government or State Government or the Local Authority shall be occupier, in case of factory owned by Central Government or State Government or Local Authority.
EXAMPLE: In case a ship which is being prepared by the dry dock which is available for hire, the following persons shall deemed to be the occupier of the ship:
- The owner of the dock
- The owner of the ship or his agent.
FEATURES OF THE TERM OCCUPIER
- Occupier means a person who occupies the factory either by himself or his agent.
- He may be an owner, a lessee or a mere licensee.
- He must have a right to occupy the property and dictate the terms of management.
- The person who has left management of conduct or affairs of factory but still its owner, is also the occupier.
PERSONS THAT ARE NOT OCCUPIER
- A servant charged with specific duties.
- A manager of the factory who resides in a portion of the premises of the factory.
- The partners who have hired the factory on rental basis will not be considered as the occupier of the factory.
PROVISIONS REGARDING THE HEALTH OF WORKERS
Section 11 to 20 contained in the Chapter III of the Factories Act 1948 deal with the provisions regarding the health of the workers. These provisions are incorporated in the act with a view to provide healthy working conditions to the workers and to ensure no harm to them from the manufacturing processes. These provisions are also incorporated in taking the purview of Article 42 of the Indian Constitution which requires that the state should make provisions for securing just and human condition of the work. The details of the provisions are as under:
SECTION 11: CLEANLINESS
Every factory must be kept clean and free from outflow of bad smelling gases from any drain, privy or other nuisance. The following measures should be adopted to ensure the cleanliness in the factory:
- Accumulation of the dirt or refuse should be removed from the floor, furniture and equipments installed in the factory on daily basis.
- The floor of every room in the factory should be washed using disinfectants at least once in a week.
- There should be proper facility of drainage in case the floor is liable to become wet during the manufacturing process.
- All the interior walls, partitions or ceiling should be painted once in every five year.
- In case factory has smooth impervious surface, it should be cleaned once in 14 months.
- In case walls are painted with washable paints, then the wall should be repainted once in 3 years and should be washes once in every six months.
- All the doors, frames and windows should be kept painted and should be painted at least once in five years.
In case the nature of factory is such that it is not possible to comply with any of the provisions mentioned, then factory occupier may grant permission from the state government for exemption. State government is the only authority that can grant exemption and suggest any alternative methods for keeping the factory clean.
SECTION 12: DISPOSAL OF WASTE AND EFFLUENTS
In every factory, there should be an adequate provision of disposal of wastes and effluents due to the manufacturing process carried on therein in the factory. The state government is empowered to make rules in this regard. All the hazardous waste material should be disposed off in the distant areas.
SECTION 13: VENTILATION AND TEMPERATURE
There should be adequate ventilation and normal temperature in every room of the factory to ensure safe working condition. The adequate steps should be taken to:
- Maintain adequate ventilation by circulation of fresh air in every work room.
- To keep the temperature at comfortable level in every work room.
The construction material of the roofs and walls should be such that will keep the temperature low of the workplace. In case there is manufacturing process that will lead to high temperatures, then that workplace should be separated by insulating the hot parts or by any other effective means.
The state government is empowered to make rules regarding keeping of thermometers at specific work places and to adopt any measure that will facilitate adequate ventilation facility and normal temperature at the workplace.
SECTION 14: DUST AND FUMES
In case the manufacturing process produces the dust and fumes that will harm the heath of the workers, the following precautions should be taken:
- To prevent the inhalation of dust or fumes.
- To prevent accumulation of dust and fumes in the work rooms.
To do this, exhaustive appliances should be installed near to the machinery to avoid inhalation of dust and fumes by the workers. Example: A stationary internal combustion engine shall not be operated unless the exhaust is conducted into the open air.
SECTION 15: ARTIFICIAL HUMIDIFICATION
There are some factories that are set up to conduct some type of activity that will require to keep the humidity of the air artificially increased. In regard to this state government has prescribed some rules regarding:
- The standards of humidification.
- The methods used for artificially increasing humidity.
- Various tests for determining the humidity.
- The methods to be adopted for securing adequate ventilation and cooling of the air in the work rooms.
The water used for humidification shall be taken from a public supply or other source of drinking water and must be effectively purified before use. The inspector of the factory may specify the measures to adopted to purify the water to be used for humidification.
SECTION 16: OVERCROWDING
There should be no overcrowding in any factory room that will be injurious to the health of the workers. In order to prevent overcrowding the following are the provisions made;
- For the factories built before commence of act: There should be 9.9 cubic meter space for every worker.
- For the factories built after commence of the act: There should be 14.2 cubic meter space for every worker.
For calculating the volume of the space, no account shall be taken for the space which is more than 4.2 meters above the level of the room.
SECTION 17: LIGHTNING
There should be adequate provision of lightning in the workplace or factory. The provision of lightning may be ensured by artificial or natural means both. Effective provision shall also be made for the prevention of:
- Glare, either directly from a source of light or by reflection.
- The formation of the shadows to such an extent as to cause eye strain or the risk of accident to any worker.
The state government is empowered to make any rule in this regard.
SECTION 18: DRINKING WATER
There should be adequate provision of clean and safe drinking water in the factory for the workers. For this the following provisions are made:
- To facilitate the drinking water at the points that can be conveniently located by all workers.
- The points of drinking water should be clearly marked ‘drinking water’ in the language clearly understood by majority of workers.
- No such points shall be situated within 6 meters of any working place, urinal, latrine, spittoon, open drain etc.
- Arrangement should be made for providing cool drinking water where the number of workers employed is more than 250.
The state government may appoint to authorities to examine the clean drinking water supply in the factories.
SECTION 19: LATRINES AND URINALS
In every factory there should be sufficient and adequate provision of latrines and urinals. The provisions in this regard are:
- Sufficient latrine and urinal accommodation of prescribed types shall be provided.
- Separate enclosed accommodation shall be provided for male and female workers.
- Such accommodation shall be adequately lighted and ventilated.
- These should be accessible to workers.
- Adequate number of sweepers should be employed to keep the urinals and latrines clean.
In case, where there are more than 250 workers in the factory:
- All latrine and urinal accommodation shall be of prescribed sanitary types.
- The floors and internal walls up to a height of 90 centimeters of the latrines and urinals.
- The sanitary blocks shall be laid in glazed tiles or finished with smooth polished impervious surface.
The state government is empowered to prescribe the rules regarding number of latrines and urinals to be provided in any factory in proportion to the number of male and female workers.
SECTION 20: SPITTOONS
There shall be provided a sufficient number of spittoons at convenient places and they shall be maintained in a clean and in hygienic condition. No person shall be spit anywhere except in the spittoons. A notice containing this provision and the penalty for its violation shall be prominently displayed at suitable places in the premises. If a person violates this provision, he may be fined up to Rs.5
PROVISIONS REGARDING THE SAFETY OF THE WORKERS
Section 21 to 41 of Chapter III of the Factories Act, 1948 contained the safety provisions of the workers. These provisions are made to provide the safe working environment in the factories to the workers. Safety is the basic and primary requirement and these provisions are incorporated in the act to ensure safety of workers against accidents and hazardous jobs. The details of the provisions are as follows:
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