The Factories Act is a beneficial legislation enacted in 1948 and provides for the health, safety, welfare and other aspects of the lives of workers in the factories. (Ravi Shankar Sharma v. State of Rajasthan (1993)).
The act is to provide protection to the exploited workers and improve the working conditions in the industries and factories. The act further provides a machinery of instructions and their strict observance and direction for the owners, and the machinery created in the act.
The Author, Mugdha Jain is a student of BA.LLB from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab. She is currently interning with LatestLaws.com.
Q1. What is the objective of The Factories Act, 1948?
The main objective of the Act is provided in the Preamble of the Act, which is to consolidate the law regulating the labour in factories. The act provides for guidelines and regulations to be followed by the owners of the factories. It also creates several authorities, their roles and
Q2. Whether the Act is applicable to whole of India?
The Factories Act, 1948 became applicable in 1949 on whole of India, including the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Q3. What is a Factory?
Section 2(m) of the Act provides for definition of Factories. “Factory” includes 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 a 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 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 or a railway running shed, or a hotel, restaurant or eating place. [Section 2(m)]
A Factory should have:
- a premises
- a manufacturing process which is being carried on in the premise or any part of premise
- Minimum 10 workers where the manufacturing process is carried out with the aid of power. And 20 workers where the manufacturing process is carried without power.
Q4. What is Manufacturing Process?
It means any process for
(i) making, altering, repairing, ornamenting, finishing, packing, oiling, washing, cleaning, breaking up, demolishing, or otherwise, treating or adopting any article or substance with a view to its use, sale, transport, delivery or disposal; or
(ii) pumping oil, water or sewage or any other substance; or
(iii) generating, transforming, transmitting power; or
(iv) composing types for printing, printing by letter-press, lithography, photogravure or other similar process, or book-binding; or
(v) constructing, reconstructing, repairing, refitting, finishing or breaking up ships or vessels; or
(vi) preserving or storing any article in cold storage. [Section 2(k)]
The definition is quite important and it has been the subject of judicial interpretation in large number of cases. In the case of In re Seshadrinatha Sarma 1966, held that to constitute a manufacture there should not be essentially some kind of transformation of substance and the article need not become commercially as another and different article from that at which it begins its existence so long as there has been an indisputable transformation of substance by the use of machinery and transformed substance is commercially marketable.
Stitching of gunny bags, conversion of latex into rubber, sea water to salt, preparation of bidis, soaps etc. all have been held as manufacturing process.
Q5. Who is a Worker?
Under Section 2(1), “Worker” means a person employed directly or by or through any agency (including a contractor) with or without knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, in any manufacturing process, or in any other kind or work incidental to, or connected with, the manufacturing process or the subject of the manufacturing process but does not include any member of the armed forces of the Union.
- there must be an ’employed person’
- employment should be direct or through some agency
- employment should be in any manufacturing process or related to it.
- employment may be for remuneration or not.
Q6. Who can carry out the Administration of the Act?
The administration of Act is to be carried out by the State Government. Under various sections like Section 3, 4 and 5, the state government can change the time or the working hours, declare different departments to be separate factories or two or more factories to be single factory for the purposes of this Act, relates to public emergency, respectively.
The State Governments carry out the administration of the Act through:
(i) Inspecting Staff (Section 8, 9)
(ii) Certifying Surgeons (Section 10)
(iii) Welfare Officers (Section 49)
(iv) Safety Officers (Section 40-B)
Q7 What are the duties of the occupier?
Inserted in 1987, via an amendment, Section 7A
(1) Every occupier shall ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all workers while they are at work in the factory.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of Sub-section (1) the matters to which such duty extends shall include:
(a) The provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work in the factory that are safe and without risks to health;
(b) the arrangement in the factory for ensuring safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances;
(c) the provisions of such information, instruction, training and supervision as are necessary to ensure the health and safety of all workers at work;
(d) the maintenance of all places of work in the factory in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and provisions and maintenance of such means of access to, and egress from, such places as are safe and without such risks;
(e) the provision, maintenance or monitoring of such working environment in the factory for the workers that is safe, without risks to health and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.
(3) Except in such cases as may be prescribed, every occupier shall prepare, and as often as may be appropriate revise, a written statement of his general policy with respect to the health and safety of the workers at work and organisation and arrangements for the time being in force for carrying out that policy, and to bring the statement and any revision thereof to the notice of all the workers in such manner as may be prescribed.
Q8 What measures have to be taken by factories for health, safety and welfare of workers?
Chapter III, IV and V of the Act deal with health, safety and welfare of the workers.
Section 11 ensures the cleanliness in the factory. It must be seen that a factory is kept clean and it is free from effluvia arising from any drain, privy or other nuisance.
Under Section 12, every occupier of a factory shall make effective arrangements for the treatment of wastes and effluents due to the manufacturing process carried on in the factory so as to render them innocuous and for their disposal, in accordance with the rules of State government.
Section 18 makes following provisions with regard to drinking water. Section 19 along with the rules framed by the State Government provides for sufficient number of latrines and urinals of prescribed standard, separate for male and female.
Chapter IV deals with safety of the workers, IV –A deals with protection of workers in hazardous processes, Chapter V deals with welfare measures for the workers.
Chapter VI contains provision for regulating working hours for the adult workers, regulating hours, extra wages, night shifts etc. Section 51 provides that an adult worker shall be allowed to work only for forty eight hours in any week. Section 52 provides that there shall be holiday for the whole day in every week and such weekly holiday shall be on the first day of the week.
Section 66 makes specific provisions for women workers, and Section 67 deals with employment of children, along with certificate of fitness.