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With the advent of factories, many mal labor practices against workers must be taken into consideration for the protection of labor. Factories Act, 1948 is one such attempt. The Factories Act, 1948 focuses on health, safety, service conditions, welfare conditions of workers. This act is applicable where factories have more than 10 people and working with ith aid of power or factories where there are 20 people working without the aid of power.  It provides regulations for cleanliness in a factory. [1] As per the act, every factory must contain proper drinking facilities [2] and hygienic urinals[3].

Object and Scope of the Act

The main objective of this act was to amend laws relating to factories and protect labor from working inside. It focuses on the welfare and benefit of laborers. The main aim of this act is to deal with :

  • the working hours
  • the working conditions
  • the annual leave with wages of the workers.

It protects workers from greedy business establishments and secures their rights while working in a factory.  In B.Y Kshatriya (P) Ltd. v. Union of India, it was observed by the SC that this act protects workers from occupational and industrial hazards. The government can also appoint inspectors to inspect the working conditions in the factories.

Essential Provisions

This act also provides for the definition of “Factory” under section 2(m) which says that factory means any premises which include ten or more workers with the aid of power or twenty or more workers working without the aid of power. It also defines the term ‘occupier’ under section 2(n) which means any person who controls the management of a factory.

This act lays down some essential duties of an Occupier [4]:

  • The occupier shall ensure the health, welfare, and safety of all workers while they are working.
  • It’s his duty to maintain proper arrangements in factories ensuring welfare in connection with the storage, handling, and transport of items.
  • Maintaining Plant and other systems relating to it.
  • Ensuring that all the places in a factory are safe and secure for workers.

Chapter III of the said Act deals with “Cleanliness and Health Measures”. Dirt shall be removed daily from the floors and benches of workrooms. As per section 11, The floor shall be cleaned at least once in a week with the help of disinfectant. Section 13 provides for proper ventilation and the flow of fresh air.

Chapter IV of the act deals with the ‘ safety measures ‘. Section 21 provides for proper fencing on machinery in a factory.  Some other facilities must be provided for the welfare of workers such as:

  • Existence of first aid appliances (Section 45)
  • Canteens, lunchroom, restroom with adequate facilities, and fresh food at cheap rates. (Section 47(1))
  • Washing and sitting facilities (section 42 and section 44)
  • Appointment of welfare officers (section 49)
  • Crèches Facilities for benefit of female workers. (Section 48)

This act also provides for the working hours of adults on a weekly and daily basis. It also provides regulations for compensatory and weekly holidays. Under section 67 a child who has not completed his fourteenth year shall not be allowed to work in any factory. However, after completing his fourteenth year, a child is allowed to work in a factory only after showing a certificate of fitness. Section 71 of the act lays down working conditions for such children.

[1]Section 11 of The Factories act,1948

[2] Sec 18

[3] Section 19

[4] Section 7A

This blog is written by Riddhi Chadha, Fairfield Institute of Management & Technology.

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