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Factories Act 1948: An Act Focussing on Labour and Employment

We cannot overstate the importance of workers in streamlining factory operations. Their dedication and hard work assist businesses in reaching new heights. So, any manufacturing company’s top priority should be its well-being.

The constitution of India initially enacted the Factories Act 1948 to protect the right of workers. It’s essential for every manufacturer, worker, and even the average citizen to be aware of such an act and its provisions.

History of Factories Act 1948

The Factory Act is a fundamental bit of law enacted in 1881. It was the first to regulate workplace conditions of workers and established various provisions concerning workers’ health, safety, and working conditions in hazardous processes.

The government modified the Act in 1891, 1911, 1922, 1934, 1948, 1976, and 1987. So, in 1948 it was significantly amended.

The Act of 1948 is more comprehensive than the earlier ones. It primarily focuses on health, safety, welfare, working hours, the minimum age to work, paid leave, etc. It also specifies the procedures for imposing penalties for violating its provision.

Understanding the Factories Act 1948

The act places a premium on regulating health and physical conditions, developing equitable policies for annual leave, and facilitating welfare amenities. In addition, it incorporates special provisions for young people, women, and children who work in factories.

Section 2(m) of the Factories Act 1948 defines “factory”

“A factory is defined as any premises where ten or more workers work or were working on any day in the previous twelve months, or in any part of which a manufacturing process is carried out with the aid of power or machinery.”

Importance of Factories Act 1948

The act primarily ensures adequate safety measures in factory premises and promotes factory workers’ health and welfare while preventing haphazard factory growth.

It protects workers from exploitation by imposing duties, obligations, and responsibilities on the occupier of a factory and the factory manager to improve working conditions within the factory premises.

Objectives of Factories Act 1948

The primary goal of the Factories Act of 1948 is to guarantee adequate protective protocols at industrial premises.

The Act was enacted to ensure adequate working conditions, including the women and children enrolled in factories. The overall objective of the act is the welfare of the workers. Thus it aimed at regulating the health and safety of workers and enacting provisions for their leave to avoid any form of exploitation.

Features of the Factories Act 1948

The provisions in the Factories Act include all of the essential points concerning working hours, welfare, safety, and health.

Hours worked

As per the adult working time requirement, a worker should not work in a factory for more than 48 hours per week, and a weekly holiday is required.

Health

The act mandated that every factory should be neat and clean and take all necessary precautions to protect workers’ health. So, the factories should:

  • have adequate lighting, drainage, temperature, and ventilation, among other things;
  • have provisions for drinking water;
  • the urinals and adequate latrine space should be in convenient locations. These areas must be kept clean and easily accessible to workers.

Welfare

As per the act, every factory must provide adequate washing facilities. Aside from that, the factory must have proper facilities for storing and drying clothing. There should be first-aid equipment, restrooms, shelters, creches, and lunchrooms.

Safety

Chapter IV of the factories act, 1948, prescribes a provision for the workers’ safety in the industries.

It states provision for:-

  • Fencing the open or working part of the machinery to avoid contact of workers to prevent injury or damage
  • Providing appropriate gear for cutting of machinery
  • Employment of young persons with dangerous machines after proper training and precautions
  • Providing appropriate manhole covers as an escape passage in the case of emergencies

What is the Manufacturing Process as Defined by the Factories Act 1948?

Under the Act, a manufacturing process gets defined as any process relating to the following activities:

  1. Altering, repairing, ornamenting, finishing, packing, oiling, washing, cleaning, breaking down, demolishing, or otherwise treating an article or substance for use, sale, transport, delivery, or disposal; or
  2. Pumping oil, water, sewage, or any other content; or
  3. Generating, transforming, or transmitting power; or
  4. Composing types for printing, printing by letterpress, lithography, photogravure, or another similar process, or bookbinding
  5. Building, repairing, refitting, finishing, or dismantling ships or vessels;
  6. Keeping any item in cold storage

Procedure for Registration Under the Factories Act of 1948

A State Government has the authority to enact regulations governing factories operating within its borders. Each factory which requires to register under the Factories Act 1948 must apply for the following:

Premises Permission

Prior permission from the State Government/Chief Inspector is a must for establishing the factory or any construction or extension of factories.

Plan Submission

The applicant may submit a plan for any type or description of the factory to the Chief Inspector or the State Government.

Payable Fees

The necessary fees must be paid for such registration and licence renewals.

Notice by Occupier

Before occupying or using any premises as a factory, the occupier must provide a minimum of fifteen days’ notice.

According to the act, the occupier must send the Chief Inspector a written notice containing the following information:

  • the factory’s name and address,
  • the occupier,
  • the owner of the premises or building, and
  • the communication address

Procedure for renewal of licence

As per the Factories Act, 1948, the licence renewal is a mandate and according to a specified procedure.

The provision for renewal of a licence is laid down under rule 8 of the model rules under the act.

The factory license should get renewed every year before it expires. Let’s discuss the steps to renew a licence under the model rules.

  • The chief inspector appointed by the state government for renewal renews the factory license.
  • An application for renewal of licence should be made in form 2 under the model factory rules.
  • It’s essential to make the application before 60 days of the license expiration.
  • If the application is not made within the specified period, then the renewal of the licence will be granted after the payment of the fee, which is 25 per cent above the original fees for the renewal of the licence.

Notes:- The licences renewed under rule 8 will be valid till the 31st December of the year for which it is renewed.

Penalties

Chapter X of the act covers the penalties for the violation.

The penalty for any firm of violation under the act is prescribed under section 92 of the factories act 1948.

It states that if a contravention is committed under this act, then the person liable for this will be punished with imprisonment up to two years and a fine extending up to two lakh rupees and,

If the contravention continues, then the person will be liable for a penalty of one thousand rupees daily until the contravention continues.

If a person was previously convicted of an offence under section 92 of the act and found guilty of the same provision again, that person would be liable under section 94 of the act. So, he/she will be punished with imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of ten thousand rupees extending up to two lakh rupees.

Factories Act of 1948—Applicability

The Act applies to:

  • any factory involved in a manufacturing process with the aid of the power where ten or more workers are or were employed on any day in the last twelve months, or is ordinarily carried out, or
  • In a factory where a manufacturing process is being carried out without the aid of power where twenty or more workers are or were employed on any day of the last twelve months

Duties of Occupier (Section7A)

Under the Factories Act, the duties of the occupier include:

  • Enhance the health, security, and well-being of all industrial labourers while on the job.
  • Provide and preserve premises and work systems in the factory that are secure and do not endanger the workers’ health.
  • Make arrangements in the factory to safeguard and ensure the absence of health risks associated with the use, managing, storing, and transporting materials and supplies.
  • Provide all needed details, guidance, mentoring, and close monitoring to guarantee the safety of all workers at work.
  • Provide, uphold, or supervise a hygienic, non-hazardous-to-health workplace culture at the factory premises and sufficient resources and frameworks for workers’ health and well-being at work.
  • Prepare a detailed declaration of general policy on health and safety at the
  • workplace and the frameworks to implement that policy.

Provisions for Overtime under Indian Labour Law

Factories Act, 1948

Section 59 states that if an employee worked in a factory for more than 9 hours any day or more than 48 hours any week, he or she is authorised to receive overtime pay at twice his or her regular pay rate.

Mines Act, 1952

As per Sections 28 to 30 of the Mines Act, none of the mine workers should be permitted or expected to work for more than 10 hours any day, including overtime.

Minimum Wages Act, 1948

Per Section 33 of the Minimum Wages Act, overtime wages must be paid twice the regular pay rates of the worker.

Further, the employer may accept actual work on any day for up to 9 hours in a 12-hour shift. However, he should pay approximately twice the rates for each hour or part of an hour of actual work exceeding 9 hours in a day or 48 hours in any week.

According to Section 14, any worker whose minimum rate of wages is fixed with wage time, such as by an hour, by day, or by any such period, and if a worker works more than that time, it is considered overtime.

If the number of hours comprising a regular workday exceeds the specified limit, the employer must pay him at the overtime rate for each hour or part of an hour worked in excess.

Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970

According to Rule 79 of the Act, every contractor must keep a Register of Overtime in Form XXIII, which contains all information about overtime computation, extra work hours, employee name, etc.

Conclusion

Factories act is significant legislation governing employment and labour laws. It ensures health, safety, welfare, working hours, and annual leave with wages. It also governs the occupier of a factory.

Noncompliance with the act’s provisions is considered a violation of the Act, and severe penalties may be imposed. It provides provisions governing the employment of young persons, including children and adults. So, the Factories Act 1948 bought many amendments to the earlier ones that worked for the betterment of workers.

FAQs on Factories Act 1948

Who is the inspector under the Factories Act 1948?

Every District Magistrate must be an Inspector for his or her district.

According to the Factories Act 1948, how many hours can an adult work per week?

According to the Factories Act 1948, no adult can work more than 48 hours per week and no more than 9 hours per day.

Who is in charge of enforcing the provisions of the factories act of 1948 and the rules implied therein?

Assistant Directors (ISH) are in charge of enforcing the provisions mentioned above in the district(s) assigned to them, under the overall supervision of the Director (ISH).

In the event of non-compliance with statutory provisions, to whom should a complaint be made?

If a worker is dissatisfied with the management or safety standards of a factory, he/she may file a formal written complaint. It can be either directly or through his or her representative in the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health (DISH) or Labour Department of the State Government or the court of law.

About Author

Deeksha Arora is a Post Graduate from the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, with a specialisation in Business Law.

She has a penchant for research and legal writing and wishes to pursue a career in academia.

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