According to the Factories Act,1948, a ‘factory’ means “any premises including the precincts thereof – (i) whereon ten or more workers are working, or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on with the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on, or (ii) whereon twenty or more workers are working, or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on without the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on; but this does not include a mine subject to the operation of the Mines Act, 1952 , or a mobile unit belonging to the armed forces of the union, a railway running shed or a hotel, restaurant or eating place.”
The Act is administered by the Ministry of Labour and Employment through its Directorate General Factory Advice Service & Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) and by the State Governments through their factory inspectorates. DGFASLI was set up with the objective of advising the Central and State Governments on administration of the Factories Act and coordinating the factory inspection services in the States. It serves as a technical arm to assist the Ministry in formulating national policies on occupational safety and health in factories and docks. It also advises factories on various problems concerning safety, health, efficiency and well-being of the persons at work places.
The organisational set up of DGFASLI is:-
- Its headquarters in Mumbai – maintains overall liaison with its Central and Regional Labour Institutes, frames policy, plans and executes the programs concerning the organization on matters pertaining to safety, health and welfare of workers in industries and docks. The headquarters consists of the following divisions:-
- Factory Advice Service
- Docks Safety
- Construction Safety
- MIS Division
- Central Labour Institute (CLI) in Mumbai – is a centre for research, training and consultancy on the various aspects of industrial work related to the human factor. The activities of the institute are geared to improve work methods and working conditions so as to enhance the safety, health and productivity of the industrial workers and in general, his/ her quality of work life. The divisions/ cells of the Institute consists of the following:-
- Industrial Safety
- Industrial Hygiene
- Industrial Medicine
- Industrial Physiology
- Staff Training
- Industrial Psychology
- Major Accident Hazards Control
The four Regional Labour Institutes (RLIs) are:-
- Regional Labour Institute, Chennai
- Regional Labour Institute, Kanpur
- Regional Labour Institute, Kolkata
- Regional Labour Institute, Faridabad
The important provisions of the Act are as follows:-
- No adult worker shall be required or allowed to work in a factory:- (i) for more than forty-eight hours in any week; and/ or (ii) for more than nine hours in any day.
- Where a worker works in a factory for more than nine hours in any day or for more than forty-eight hours in any week, he shall, in respect of overtime work, be entitled to wages at the rate of twice his ordinary rate of wages. The ‘ordinary rate of wages’ means the basic wages plus such allowances, including the cash equivalent of the advantage accruing through the concessional sale to workers of foodgrains and other articles, as the worker is for the time being entitled to, but does not include a bonus and wages for overtime work.
- Where a worker is deprived of any of the weekly holidays, he shall be allowed, within the month in which the holidays were due to him or within the two months immediately following that month, compensatory holidays of equal number to the holidays so lost.
- The periods of work of adult workers in a factory each day shall be so fixed that no period shall exceed five hours and that no worker shall work for more than five hours before he has had an interval for rest of at least half an hour.
- Every worker who has worked for a period of 240 days or more in a factory during a calendar year shall be allowed during the subsequent calendar year, leave with wages for a number of days calculated at the rate of – (i) if an adult, one day for every twenty days of work performed by him during the previous calendar year; (ii) if a child, one day for every fifteen days of work formed by him during the previous calendar year. In the case of a female worker, maternity leave for any number of days not exceeding twelve weeks.
- In order to safeguard the health of the workers:-
- Every factory shall be kept clean and free from effluvia arising from any drain, privy or other nuisance and in particular accumulations of dirt.
- Effective arrangements shall be made in every factory for the treatment of wastes and effluents due to the manufacturing process carried on therein, so as to render them innocuous and for their disposal.
- Effective and suitable provision shall be made in every factory for securing and maintaining in every workroom adequate ventilation by the circulation of fresh air; and such a temperature that will secure to workers reasonable conditions of comfort and prevent injury to health.
- No room in any factory shall be overcrowded to an extent injurious to the health of the workers employed therein.
- Every part of a factory, where workers are working or passing, shall be provided with sufficient and suitable lighting, natural or artificial, or both.
- In every factory effective arrangements shall be made to provide, at suitable points conveniently situated for all workers employed therein, a sufficient supply of wholesome drinking water.
- In order to ensure safety of the workers:-
- Every dangerous part of any machinery shall be securely fenced and constantly maintained to keep it in position.
- No young person shall be required or allowed to work at any dangerous machine unless he has been fully instructed as to the dangers arising from it and the precautions to be observed as well as has received sufficient training in work at the machine.
- No woman or child shall be employed in any part of a factory for pressing cotton in which a cotton-opener is at work (subject to the given conditions).
- In every factory every hoist and lift shall be – (i) of good mechanical construction, sound material and adequate strength; (ii) properly maintained, and thoroughly examined by a competent person at least once in every period of six months.
- No person shall be required or allowed to enter any chamber, tank, vat, pit, pipe, flue or other confined space in any factory in which any gas, fume, vapour or dust is likely to be present to such an extent as to involve risk to the workers, unless it is provided with a manhole of adequate size or other effective means of egress.
- Certain facilities to be provided to the workers:-
- Every factory shall provide and maintain readily accessible first-aid boxes or cupboards equipped with the prescribed contents, and the number of such boxes or cupboards shall not be less than one for every one hundred and fifty workers ordinarily employed at any one time in the factory.
- In any factory wherein more than two hundred and fifty workers are ordinarily employed, a canteen or canteens shall be provided and maintained by the occupier for the use of the workers.
- In every factory wherein more than one hundred and fifty workers are ordinarily employed, adequate and suitable shelters, rest rooms and lunch room, with provision for drinking water, where workers can eat meals brought by them, shall be provided and maintained for the use of the workers.
- In every factory wherein more than thirty women workers are ordinarily employed, there shall be a suitable room or rooms for the use of children under the age of six years of such women. Such rooms shall provide adequate accommodation, lighting and ventilation with clean and sanitary condition.