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Q. What are the provisions made by Factory Act 1948 for Health, Safety, and Welfare of the workers? Who are "young persons" and what are the provisions meant for them? What are the provisions for health, safety, and welfare of women and children? Mention the provisions regarding "hours of work". Mention the provisions for hazardous processes.

Working conditions of factory workers in India has been historically very pathetic. Due to poverty and exploitation by factory owners, workers had practically no option. Due to an increase in industrial activity in the later half of the 19th century, attempts were made to improve the condition of the workers many  times by the reports of the Royal Commission through various acts. The act of 1948 builds upon the act of 1934 after understanding the defects and weaknesses of the earlier act. An important change was the widening the definition of a 'Factory'  to include any industrial establishment employing 10 or more people that uses power, or any  industrial establishment  that employs more than 20 people that does not use any power. Other important changes were:

Factory Act 1948 defines the following terms.

Sec 2(k) Manufacturing Process 
Sec 2(l) Worker
Sec 2(m) Factory
Sec 2 (c) Hazardous Process
Any Process or activity in relation to an industry specified in first schedule where, unless special care is taken, raw materials used, final output, intermediary product, by product, waste, or effluent can cause material impairment to the health of a person working in the process directly or indirectly or causes environmental pollution.

Provisions for Health

The following sections deal with the health provisions for factory workers.

Sec. 11 Cleanliness
Sec. 12  Waste and Affluents
All the waste and affluents generated in the factory must be removed from the factory with proper treatment.

Sec. 13 Temperature and Ventilation
The temperature of the working place must be maintained. Special care must be take to not let the temperature increase where any work that use or produces heat is performed. Fresh air must be circulated through adequate ventilation.

Sec. 14 Dust and Fumes
Proper steps must be taken to remove the dust and fumes from the working area. Gases or exhaust fumes generated by any equipment such as diesel generator should be routed and released outside the workplace.

Sec. 15 Artificial Humidity
Any place where humidity is increased artificially, proper instruments must installed to record the humidity.

Sec 16 Overcrowding
A factory established before this act must have at least 9.1 sq ft of space per person, while new factories must have 14.2 sq ft. The maximum capacity of a room or enclosure must be posted outside the room and a log must be maintained.

Sec 17 Lighting
Proper lighting arrangements must be made to ensure that it does not cause glare in eyes. Light source must be such that a shadow is not created in the work area.

Sec 18 Drinking water
Clean safe drinking water must be provided. Water must be kept away from any dirty place. No waste should be routed from the place where drinking water is kept. At least six meters away from latrines, urinals, washing place. "Drinking water" must be written in bold and legible to all.

Sec 19 Latrines and Urinals
A separate place must be created for men and women. Height must be  the floor and walls must be properly tiled. It must be cleaned every day.

Sec 20 Spittoons
Spittoons must be placed at several appropriate locations.

The following sections 21 to 41 deal with the safety provisions for factory workers.

State of Gujarat vs. Jethalal 1964 SC - (Sec 21 – Fencing of machinery. ) That someone without the approval or knowledge of the occupier has removed a safety mechanism, is no defense.   
Finch vs Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Co - (Sec 35 -  Protection to eyes) - Only hanging of goggles is not enough but the workers must be informed of their whereabout.

The following sections 42 to 50 deal with the welfare provisions for factory workers.

Sec 42 Washing Facilities

Sec 43 Facility for drying and storage of clothes

Sec 44 Facility for sitting

Sec 45  First Aid Appliances

Sec 46 Canteen
Bengal Water Proof Workers vs State of West Bengal 1970 -  Held that the liability of a company is only to set up a canteen so that workers can take advantage of it. The terms and conditions of service of the staff of the canteen do not come under that liability.

Sec 47 Shelter, rest rooms, and  lunch rooms

Sec 48 Creche

Sec 49 Welfare Officer

Sec 50 Power to make rules to supplement this chapter: This includes requiring any factory or class of factories to involve workers representatives in the management of welfare activities for the workers. It also allows the state to exempt certain factories from welfare provisions, provided that alternative arrangements are made.

Health and Safety In Mines - Mines Act  1952
Sec. 19 - Drinking Water
Sec. 20 - Conservancy (Latrines and Urinals)
Sec. 21 - Medical Appliances
Notice, Prevention, and investigation of Accidents and Diseases.

Health and Welfare In Plantations - Plantations Labor Act  1951
Drinking water, conservancy, medical facilities, Annual leave with wages, sickness and maternity benefits.

Canteens for 150+ workers, creches, recreational, educational, and housing facilities.

Provisions for welfare of Women

Given in Factory Act : 

Sec. 19 - Toilets and Urinals,
Sec. 27 - Prohibition of employing women and children near cotton openers.
Sec. 48 - Creches
Sec. 66 - Further restrictions on employment of women - no flex on working hrs,  no change of shifts except after holiday.

Maternity Benefit Act 1961

Equal Remuneration Act 1976

Provisions for welfare of Children and Young Persons
Adult - As per section 2 (a), a person who has completed his 18th year of age.
Adolescent - As per section 2 (b), a person who has completed his 15th year of age but not 18th.
Child - As per section 2 (c), a person who has not yet completed his 15th year of age.
Young Person -
As per section 2(d) A person who is a child or an adolescent.

Regulations on employment of young persons (Sections 67 to 77):
Sec. 23 - (y) Employment of young persons on dangerous machines.

Sec. 67 - A child who has not completed his 14th yr of age is prohibited from working in a factory.

Sec. 68 - As per this section, a person who has completed 14th yr of age or is adolescent shall not be allowed to work in a factory unless he is certified by a surgeon. This certificate must be provided by a certifying surgeon as per section 69, and must be kept with the manager and the person should be given a token containing the reference of this certificate while working.

Sec. 69 - A certifying surgeon should examine the person and issue a certificate of fitness upon request by the young person or his parents. If the child has completed 14th yr of age and has attained prescribed physical standards, he can be given the certificate of fitness to work as a child. If the child has completed 15th yr of age and is fit for full days work in the factory, he can be given the certificate to work as adult.

Sec 70 says that even if a person has been given a certificate to work as an adult and who has not completed the age of 17 yrs, he can be allowed to work only between 6 AM to 7 PM.

Sec. 71 - This section prohibits a child from working for more that 4 and a half hours in any day and only between 6am to 10pm. Further that a child will not be allowed to work in a day if he has worked in the same day in another factory. No female child is allowed to work except between 8 AM and 7 PM.

Sec. 72 - Notice period of work for children.

Sec. 73 - Register of child workers.

Sec. 74 - No child shall be allowed to work except in the hours mentioned in the notice periods given in section 72 and 73.

Sec. 75 - Power to require medical examination. An inspector has the power to serve a notice on the employer required that any person or young person shall be examined by a certifying surgeon.

Sec. 76 - This section empowers the state govt. to formulate rules for physical standards, procedures, and other conditions for giving fitness certificate.

Sec. 77 says that the regulations in this act are in addition to Employment of Children Act 1938.

Provisions for Hazardous Processes in Factory Act (Section 41 A to 41 H)
Sec. 41 A Constitution of Site Appraisal Committee
Sec. 41 B Compulsory disclosure of information by occupier
Sec. 41 C Specific Responsibility of the occupier in relation to hazardous process
Sec. 41 D  Power of central govt. to appoint Inquiry Committee
Sec. 41 E Emergency Standards
Sec. 41 F Permissible limits of exposure of chemical and toxic substances
Sec. 41 G Worker's participation in Safety management
Sec. 41 H Right of workers to warn about imminent danger.