Factories Act

Factories Act, 1948

Factories Act, 1948, India

The Factories Act, 1948 has been enacted to consolidate and amend the laws regulating the rights and working conditions of those working in the factories. It extends to whole of India and applies to every factory wherein 20 or more workers are ordinarily employed. Since the aim and object of the Act is to safeguard the interest of workers and protect them from exploitation and discrimination, the Act prescribes certain standards with regards to safety, welfare and working hours of workers, apart from other provisions which factories establishment are required to comply with.

According to Section 2(m) of the Indian Factories Act, 1948 “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.

The Factories Act essentially lays down the guidelines to be followed by every factory in order to maintain the health, safety and welfare of the factory workers. Some features of the Factories Act, 1948 are highlighted below:

Health under Factories Act, 1948

  1. Every factory should be kept clean and free from effluvia arising from any drain, privy or other nuisance. {Section 11}
  2. Effective arrangements should be made in every factory for the treatment and disposal of wastes and effluents produced due to the manufacturing process carried on therein, so as to render them innocuous. {Section12}
  3. Effective and suitable provisions for adequate ventilation by the circulation of fresh air; and maintenance of suitable temperatures should be made in every factory for securing and maintaining in every workroom; reasonable conditions of comfort and prevent injury to the health of the workers. {Section 13}
  4. Effective measures should be taken to prevent inhalation of dust and fume that is produced in the course of manufacturing process. {Section 14}
  5. In any factory where humidity in the air is artificially increased, the State Government may make rules prescribing standards of humidification; regulating the methods used for artificially increasing humidity in the air; and directing prescribed test for determining the humidity in 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 15}
  6. No room in any factory should be overcrowded to an extent that is injurious to the health of the workers employed therein. {Section 16}
  7. In every part of a factory where workers are working or passing by, sufficient and suitable lighting should be provided and maintained. {Section 17}
  8. Sufficient and conveniently accessible supply of wholesome drinking water should be maintained in the factories. {Section 18}
  9. In every factory sufficient lavatory and urinals 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}
  10. 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 under Factories Act, 1948

  1. The machinery in every factory should be properly fenced. {Section 21}
  2. 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}
  3. No young person shall be employed on dangerous machinery, unless he is fully instructed as to the dangers arising in connection with the machine. Necessary precautions are to be observed and Occupier must ensure that such worker has received sufficient training for working at the machine. {Section 23}
  4. Suitable arrangements should be made to provide striking gear and devices for cutting off power in case of emergencies. {Section 24}
  5. Sufficient precautions should be taken with regard to self-acting machines to avoid accidents. {Section 25}
  6. To prevent danger, all machinery driven by power should be encased and effectively guarded. {Section 26}
  7. Women workers 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}
  8. Hoists and Lifts in a factory should be periodically inspected by the Competent Person. {Section 28}
  9. Lifting Machines, Chains, Ropes and Lifting Tackles in a factory should be periodically inspected by the Competent Person. {Section 29}
  10. 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}
  11. 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 or machinery or its part is not exceeded.{Section 31}
  12. Floors, stairs and means of access should be soundly constructed and properly maintained.{Section 32}
  13. Pits, sumps opening in floor etc., should be either securely covered or fenced.{Section 33}
  14. 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}
  15. 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}
  16. Suitable precautionary arrangements should be taken against dangerous fumes, gases etc. {Section 36}
  17. All practicable measures should be taken to prevent any explosion where the manufacturing process produces dust, gas, fume or vapour etc. {Section 37}
  18. Every practicable measures should be taken to prevent the outbreak of fire and its spread, both internally and externally. {Section 38}
  19. 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}
  20. 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 is likely to cause danger to human life. {Section 40}
  21. 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 under Factories Act, 1948

  1. Adequate and suitable ‘washing facilities’ should be provided in every factory. {Section 42}
  2. Provision should be made to provide suitable places for keeping clothes that are not worn during working hours and for the drying of wet clothing.{Section 43}
  3. 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}
  4. 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}
  5. 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 in the charge of such medical and nursing staff. {Section 45(4)}
  6. 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}
  7. 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 have lunch or tiffins. {Section 47}
  8. In every factory wherein more than 30 women workers are ordinarily employed there shall be provision for maintaining a suitable room for the use of children under the age of six years of such women. {Section 48}
  9. 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}
  10. Working Hours of Adult Workers
  11. Ordinarily, a worker should not be allowed to work in a factory for more than 48 hours in any week. {Section 51}
  12. 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}
  13. 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}
  14. Subject to the provisions of Section 51, no worker should be allowed to work more than nine hours in a day. {Section 54}
  15. 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}
  16. 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 under Factories Act, 1948

  1. Every Occupier should ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all workers while they are at work in the factory.
  2. Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (1), the matters to which such duty extends, include –
    1. the provisions and maintenance of the plant and systems of work in the factory that are safe and without risks to health;
    2. 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;
    3. the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as are necessary to ensure .the health and safety of all workers at work;
    4. 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;
    5. 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.
  3. 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}

Penal Provision under Indian Factories Act, 1948

  • For contraventions of Provisions of the Act, imprisonment upto 7 years or fine upto Rs.2,00,000/-. may be imposed
  • For continuous contraventions of the Act, imprisonment upto 10 year and/or fine upto Rs.5,000/- per day may be imposed.

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Labour Law in India

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