Compliance Requirements under the Factories Act, 1948
With modernization, there has been a considerable rise in industrial activities across the globe. Especially during and after the later part of the nineteenth century, developed and developing nations in the world have been witnessing an exponential increase in the number of factories. Statutory compliance and employee safety in the workplace have become of paramount importance.
The Crucial Need for Shop and Establishment Compliance
Amid hectic activities and progress in the recent past, governments throughout the world have realized the need for stringent measures to ensure the safety and welfare of workers. This has led them to formulate principles and policies that make certain provisions legally essential in factories and workplaces.
The Factories Act, 1948 is one such legal necessity. It has been passed with the main goal of strengthening the position of the workforce. The changed production technology and increasing employment at factories all over the world have caused it a major responsibility of governments and employers to ensure employee safety. The Factories Act, 1948 is one of India’s major labor-related acts that enforce shop and establishment compliance, thus assuring a safe and healthy working atmosphere for employees.
The Factories Act, 1948: The Major Objectives
Regulating working conditions, safety, health condition, and leave eligibility of workers are the major focus of this Act. Moreover, this Act covers several special provisions associated with women, young persons, and factory employees. The following are the major objectives that warrant employee safety and welfare through statutory compliance:
- Workplace/ Employee Safety: Provisions in the Act, to ensure employees’ safety require appropriate fencing of machinery. Yong persons are not allowed to work near dangerous machines or in confined places. Maintenance holes with adequate sizes that provide sufficient space for workers to escape an emergency are mandatory.
- Working Hours: Adult employees are not supposed to work more than 48 hours per week. The provisions are different for younger workers. Weekly holiday is mandatory. Shop and establishment compliance requirements are expected to be met by employers.
- Employees’ Welfare: With a view to ascertaining employee convenience, the Act requires factories to provide suitable and proper facilities for washing, drying, and storing clothes and regular maintenance of such provisions. Moreover, first-aid kits, restrooms, space for resting, lunch rooms, and crèches are mandatory too.
- Shop and Establishment Compliance Related to Health: Cleanliness and resting spaces are required to ensure the wellness of workers. Proper ventilation, adequate lighting, and hygienic drainage are a few of the provisions required by this Act. Drinking water must be provided, and urinals and latrines at easily accessible spots must be arranged for workers. All these must be maintained in a clean and hygienic condition, ensuring workers’ physical and emotional wellness.
- Penalties for Failure to Meet Statutory Compliance: Failure to meet any of the prescribed provisions under the Factories Act, 1948 will be treated as a violation of the Act. It draws legal penalties such as the ones mentioned below:
- Monetary fine up to INR one lakh
- Imprisonment for a term of up to one year
- A combination of both
Factories and Business Establishments that Fall Under the Domain of the Act
Factories that perform manufacturing processes with electric power and employ more than 10 workers who work any day of the preceding 12 months are covered by this Act. Factories that perform processes without power but employ more than 20 workers are also covered under the provisions of this Act. This Act does not cover eating places, hotels, mines, or mobile units that belong to the nation’s armed forces.
Enacted with the main aim of safeguarding the interests of employees, the Factories Act 1948 is crucial. It ensures the hygiene and welfare of workers at the workplace while establishing their rights. Employee safety is assured, and the provisions of this Act enforce statutory compliance.