EFFICACY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE MACHINERY UNDER THE STATE FACTORY INSPECTORATES AND OTHER MEASURES FOR WORKERS IN PRINTING, DYEING, CHEMICAL STORAGE AND HANDLING IN UN- REGISTERED ESTABLISHMENTS
5.0 Manufacturing Sector
5.0.1 Statutes enforced by State Inspectorates of Factories
In some states, inspectorates of factories also enforce the provisions under various other statutes applicable to factories, in addition to the Factories Act. A list of such statutes is given below:
1. The Indian Boilers Act 1923
2. The Payment of Wage Act, 1936
3. Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
4. Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules,1989
5. The Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923
6. The Child Labour(Prohibition and Regulation)Act, 1986
At present, inspectorates of factories are performing enforcement activities in respect of factories only.
5.0.2 Unregistered Units
The state-wise information regarding manufacturing units not covered under the Factories Act 1948 is not readily available. Based on the information collected from CIFs regarding number of registered factories employing less than 50 workers, and the number of SSI units not registered under the Factories Act 1948, the total number of such units may be approximately estimated at in excess of 2 millions. Some of these SSI units may be manufacturing, handling, using hazardous chemicals or carrying on operations dangerous to the health and safety of workers.
In order to ensure safety and health of workers employed in these unregistered manufacturing units, it is necessary that these units are covered under the safety and health statutes.
5.1 Other Sectors
5.1.1 Other establishments
In addition to unregistered factories, safety and health of workers employed in other establishments such as hotels, software development units etc. are also need to be secured through suitable legislative measures. The General Legislation on OSH should be made applicable to these establishment also, in a progressive manner. Regulations can be notified by Central Government in consultation with the Apex Body on OSH or otherwise to cover these establishments.
5.1.2 Cinema Theatres, Hotels and Restaurants
As per the information available, in the year 1995, there were 171,727 Cinema, Theatres, Hotels and Restaurants in the country employing 6,01,233 persons. The establishments are covered under the Shops and Commercial Establishments Acts enacted by various State Governments. The enforcement of the provisions is looked after by State Labour Department through State Labour Commissioners. The report on the review of working of this legislation published by Labour Bureau in 1995 reveals that most of the irregularities detected during the inspection of these establishments were pertaining to non-payment of wages, arrears, overtime, leave-wages, non-maintenance of records, non-observance of working hours, etc. which are not directly relating to safety and health.
The Working Group noted that the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in the Civil Apeal No.1144-45 and 1147 - 1149 of 1952 and W.P.(c) was 9728 – 29 of 1983, has held that a hotel is a factory, as per the definition of the term under Section 2(12) of the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948. This definition of the term “factory” is the same as under Section 2(k) of the Factories Act 1948. However, there is a specific exemption under the Factories Act 1948, under Section 2(m) to exclude Hotel from the applicability of that Act. It is felt that a suitable amendment to the Factories Act should be made to cover Hotels.
5.2 State Factories Inspectorates
The details regarding number of registered factories, working factories and number of inspection in various States is given in Annexure-IX. The inspectors are qualified and experienced in the field of safety and health. Some States have also appointed specialist inspectors of factories such as Medical Inspector, Chemical Inspector, etc.
If all the establishments including both manufacturing, commercial, etc. are brought under the coverage of the safety and health statutes, the annual routine inspection of these unit with the available strength of inspectors of factories is not possible.
5.2.1 Mandatory registration with Factories Inspectorates
All the manufacturing establishments, hotels and software development units should be brought under the scope of the Factories Act. These units should be required to get registered with the Factories Inspectorates.
All registered units should be required to submit a simple Annual Return giving bare minimum necessary details regarding employment and arrangements for ensuring safety and health of workers. Larger units or units carrying on hazardous processes or dangerous operations should be required to submit safety audit report by accredited auditors once in 2/3 years. Smaller units and non-hazardous units should be inspected by regular inspector of factories or by public officers such as those in District Industries Centres, industrial development corporations etc. to be notified as additional inspectors under Section 8(5) of the Factories Act, only on sample basis. However, in case of complaints, accidents, dangerous occurrence, the concerned units should be thoroughly inspected by regular inspector of factories.
Establishments other than those registered with inspectorate of factories should be required to be registered under Shops and Establishments Act. The enforcement and coordination should be entrusted to State Labour Commissioners, as per the present practice.
5.2.3 Education and Training
Training and awareness programmes in the field of safety and health should be organized at local level or district level in collaboration with factories inspectorates, industries association, District Industries Centres and professional organizations.
In order to spread awareness about safety and health, bring in cooperation, facilitate exchange of ideas and resources, district level Industrial Safety and Health Committees should be established under the Chairmanship of factory inspector. The committee should also include officials from other departments of the Government.
Posters, leaflets, pamphlets depicting safety and health aspects in various work activities, work places should be prepared and published in collaboration with NGO and organizations specialized in the field of safety and health.
As regards other measures, all these types of units should be brought under the scope of the Factories Act or the Regulations to be framed under General Legislation on OSH. Thus there will be statutory requirements on the part of the employers to ensure safety and health of workers. However, the strategies as already discussed should be adopted for promotion of safety and health. More emphasis should be given on self regulation, third party certification and less of inspection.