Main Provisions of the Factories Act, 1948
The main objective of the Act is not only to ensure adequate safety measures but also to promote health and welfare of the workers employed in factories as well as to prevent haphazard growth of factories.
2. COVERAGE OF THE ACT
The coverage of the Act is confined to the: -
factories using power and employing 10 or more workers on any working day of the preceding twelve months;
factories not using power and employing 20 or more workers on any working day of the preceding twelve months; and the
factories specially notified under Section 85 of the Factories Act by the State Govts./Union Territories.
3. IMPORTANT CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS
(a) Factory means any premises including the precincts thereof:-
i) Wherein 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) Wherein 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.
(b) Worker means a person (employed directly or through any agency including a contractor) with or without the knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not in any manufacturing process, or in cleaning any part of the machinery or premises used for a manufacturing process, or in any kind of work incidental to or connected with the manufacturing process, or the subject of manufacturing process (but does not include any member of the armed forces of the Union).
(c) Manufacturing process means any process for: -
i) Making, altering, repairing, ornamenting, finishing, packing, oiling, washing, cleaning, breaking up, demolishing or otherwise treating or adapting any article or substance with a view to its use, sale, transport, delivery or disposal or
ii) Pumping oil, water, sewage or any other substance or
iii) Generating, transforming or transmitting power or
iv) Composing types for printing, printing by letter press, lithography, photogravure of other similar process or book binding,
v) Constructing, reconstructing, repairing, refitting, finishing or breaking up ships or vessels,
vi) Preserving or storing any article in cold storage.
(d) Hazardous Process means any process or activity in relation to an industry specified in the First Schedule where, unless special care is taken, raw materials used therein or the intermediate or finished products, by- products, wastes or effluents thereof would cause material impairment of the health of the persons engaged in or connected therewith, or results in the pollution of the general environment. Provided that the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, amend the First Schedule by way of addition, omission or variation of any industry specified in the said Schedule.
(e) Fatal Injury means injury resulting from industrial accident which caused death to the worker.
(f) Non-Fatal Injury means injury resulting from industrial accident, which prevented injured worker from attending to work for a period of 48 hours or more immediately following the injuries.
(g) Adult means a person who has completed his eighteenth year of age.
(h) Adolescent means a person who has completed his fifteenth year of age but has not completed his eighteenth year.
(i) Child means a person who has not completed his fifteenth year of age.
(j) Average Daily Number of Workers Employed The average daily number of workers employed is calculated by dividing the aggregate number of attendance on working days (that is, mandays worked) by the number of working days in the year. Attendance on separate shifts (e.g. night and day shifts) should be counted separately. Days on which the factory was closed for whatever cause and days on which the manufacturing process was not carried on should not be treated as working days. Partial attendance for less than half a shift on a working day should be ignored, while attendance for half a shift or more on such day should be treated as full attendance.
(k) Mandays Worked Mandays Worked means total Number of attendance during a calendar year.
(l) Average Number of Hours Worked per week The Average number of hours worked per week means the total actual hours worked by all workers during the year excluding the rest intervals but including overtime worked, divided by the product of average number of workers employed daily in the factory and 52 weeks. In case the factory has not worked for the whole year, the number of weeks during which the factory worked should be used in place of 52.
4. RELEVENT PROVISIONS UNDER THE ACT
ANNUAL LEAVE WITH WAGES
The Act provides that every worker who has worked for a period of at least 240 days during a calendar year shall be allowed during the subsequent year leave with wages at the rate of (a) one day for every twenty days worked in the case of adults, and (b) one day for every fifteen days worked in the case of children. The leave is exclusive of holidays that occur during or at either end of the leave period. Provision is also made for proportionate leave with wages for a worker who is discharged or dismissed before he has rendered 240 days service. There is also a provision that any days of lay off by agreement or contract or as permissible under the Standing Orders; maternity leave period for female workers for days not exceeding 12 weeks and leave earned in the previous year in which leave is enjoyed may be counted as days on which workers have worked in a factory for the purpose of computation of period of 240 days or more.
To ensure safety of the workers, the Act has provided several measures such as compulsory fencing of machines of all sorts. No person should be employed in any factory to lift, carry or move any load so heavy as to be likely to cause him injury. If it appears to the Inspector that any building or part of a building or any part of the ways, machinery or plant in a factory is in a condition that it is dangerous to human life or safety, he may serve on the Manager of the factory, an order in writing, specifying the measures which in his opinion should be adopted and requiring them to be carried out before a stipulated date.
If the factory employs more than 500 workers, an ambulance room in the charge of such medical and nursing staff as prescribed shall be provided and maintained.
CANTEENS, SHELTERS OR REST ROOMS AND CRECHES
Canteens are to be provided in factories employing over 250 workers and lunch rooms, shelters and rest rooms in those employing more than 150 workers. In every factory wherein more than 30 women workers are employed, there shall be provided and maintained a suitable room or rooms for the use of children under the age of six years of such women.
In every factory wherein 500 or more workers are ordinarily employed, the occupier shall employ in the factory such number of Welfare Officers as may be prescribed.