Overview of Factories Act, 1948

“Priya, who owns a factory which manufactures footwears. She was concerned about the welfare of the workers of her factory. She was not aware if there existed any legislation that provided safeguards for the workers.
Mr. Lexi explained that, Factories Act, 1948 aims for welfare of the workers.”
What are the objectives of the Factories Act, 1948?
This act has been enacted with the objective to-
● Regulate the working conditions in factories,
● Regulate health of workers,
● Regulate safety welfare and annual leaves,
● Enact special provisions for young persons, women and children.
● Protect the workers from exploitation.

APPLICABILITY

What is the applicability of the Factories Act, 1948?
This act is applicable to the whole of India including the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Is this act applicable to every factory?
This act is applicable only where there are 20 or more workers ordinarily employed in a factory.

FACTORY

What are the essentials for a factory for the purpose of this act?
● There must be a premises.
● There must be a manufacturing process which is being carried on or is ordinarily carried on in any part of the premises.
● 10 or more workers have been working in such premises for the past 12 months with the aid of power.
● 20 or more workers have been working in such premises for the past 12 months without the aid of power.
What is meant by “aid of power”?
It means with the help of electricity and fuel etc which are necessary to run the machines.

WORKING CONDITIONS

What is the provision relating to working hours of the workers?
An adult worker should not be allowed to work for more than 48 hours in a week. Also, there should be a weekly holiday.
What are the provisions for protecting the health of the workers?
● Factory shall be kept clean,
● All necessary precautions shall be taken to keep the premises clean,
● Proper drainage system, adequate lighting, ventilation, temperature etc.
What should be done to ensure safety of the workers?
● Machinery should be fenced,
● No young person shall work at any dangerous machine,
● Manholes shall be of adequate size so that workers can escape in case of emergency.
What facilities should be provided for the welfare of the workers?
● Adequate and suitable facilities for washing for the workers,
● Facilities for storing and drying clothes,
● Facilities for sitting,
● First aid appliances,
● Shelters, rest rooms, lunch rooms etc.

PENALTY

When are the penalties imposed under this act?
When rules made under this act or any order given in writing under this act is violated, it amounts to an offence and penalty is imposed.
What are the different penalties imposed under this act?
● Imprisonment for a term which may extend for upto one year, or
● Fine which may extend upto one lakh rupees, or
● Both fine and imprisonment.

DUTIES OF THE OCCUPIER

Who is an occupier?
A person who has ultimate control over the affairs of the factory is known as an occupier.
What are the duties of an occupier?
● Worker’s participation in safety management
● Right of workers to be warned about imminent dangers
● Facilities for sitting and canteens
● Annual leave with wage
● Safety and occupational health survey.

DUTIES OF A FACTORY MANAGER

What are the duties of a factory manager?
● Right of workers to be warned about imminent danger
● Notice of period of work for adults
● Register of adult workers
● Annual leave with wage
● Notice of certain disease
● Safety and occupational health survey

AUTHORITIES UNDER THE ACT

Who is an inspector?
The State Government appoints an inspector for a particular area that examines and inspects the factories and see whether they are following the provisions of the act or not.
Who is a certifying surgeon?
The State Government appoints qualified medical practitioners who shall examine the health of the young persons, women and other workers employed in the factory.
Who is a safety officer?
In factories where one thousand or more workers are employed, shall have a safety officer which oversees the manufacturing processes which involve great risk of bodily injuries.
Which court has the jurisdiction to entertain the matters relating to offences under this act?
Any court which has the jurisdiction to entertain matters in a particular area are deemed to have the jurisdiction in this regard.

In A Nutshell

● The act aims at regulating the working conditions of a factory to promote welfare and protect the workers from any kind of exploitation.
● There must be a premises and there shall be a manufacturing process going on in that premises with or without the aid of power.
● The provisions of the act lay down various points regarding safety, welfare, health, environment etc regarding which the factory has to follow the prescribed guidelines.
● If the provisions of the act are violated then penalty shall be imposed which could either be imprisonment or fine or both.
● Occupier is a person that controls all the affairs of the factory and has certain duties that he shall fulfill.
● There are various authorities under the act such as an Inspector, safety officer and a certifying surgeon.

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