Health and Safety

Employer Cares

Parts IV-VII of the Factories Act have detailed provisions on maintaining safe and healthy workplaces. These relate to cleanliness, ventilation, prohibition of overcrowding, safe dealing of chains, ropes, hoists and lifts, etc. The Factories Act further requires safe means of access and safe place of employment. Maintaining a safe work environment is also the responsibility of workers. Factories Act prohibits workers to wilfully and without reasonable cause do anything likely to endanger himself or any other person.

In line with the Employment Act, every employer must, at his own expense, provide for his employees and members of their families living with them medical aid in accordance with such scale as may be prescribed. The obligation to provide medical aid to the members of worker’s family extends only to cases where the employee and his family are resident on employer’s land.

According to the Code of Conduct, the conditions of employment must be designed to avoid any exposure to the employee to danger, health hazards or unpleasant working conditions. If hazardous or unpleasant working conditions cannot be avoided, the employer must provide appropriate protective clothing and equipment, and should consider compensation for unpleasant working conditions. Where practical, the employer should arrange for pre and post medical examinations and if the employees are exposed to hazardous substances, then there should also be regular in-service medical examinations. Wherever possible, joint management and employee health and safety committee should be established.

Source: Rule 11 of the Code of Conduct; §125 of the Employment Act, 2010; Parts IV-VII of the Factories Act, 1973

Free Protection

If hazardous or unpleasant working conditions cannot be avoided, the employer must provide appropriate protective clothing and equipment, and should consider compensation for unpleasant working conditions.

Where, in any factory, workers are employed in any process involving excessive exposure to wet or to any injurious or offensive substance, suitable protective clothing and appliances, including suitable gloves, footwear, goggles, head or face coverings or any other necessary clothing or appliance must be provided and maintained for the use of such workers.

Source: §51 of the Factories Act; Rule 11 of the Code of Conduct

Training

Factories Act requires training and supervision of inexperienced workers.

In line with the Code of Conduct, the induction training should consist of providing information concerning the employee’s job and direct supervisor, rates of pay and other terms and conditions of employment, the company’s rules, and if necessary, information about trade union recognized by the company.

If an employee is exposed to hazardous working conditions, special training should be given in the use of safety equipment, safety procedures and the wearing of protective clothing. Employees should also be trained in occupational health and safety practices at work.

The management is to provide appropriate training programs to enable employees to develop additional skills and knowledge. Service training is to be considered essential.  For supervisor and management positions, the employers are to ensure that employees undergo appropriate training prior to taking up these positions.

Source: §29 of the Factories Act; Rule 22 of the Code of Conduct

Labour Inspection System

Employment Act provides for appointment of Commissioner of Labour and Labour Officers. They have the power to, at any reasonable time, enter, inspect and examine any area where any employee is housed; enter, inspect and examine any sanitary arrangements, water supply, hospital or medication to be used by employees in any place; inspect and examine kitchens and food for the employees; take and remove, for the purposes of analysis, samples of any material or substances handled by employees;  require any employer to produce any employee employed by him or any documents relevant to such an employee; and question any employer or employee or any other person whose evidence there is reasonable cause to consider necessary regarding matters connected with carrying out any of the provisions of this Act.

The Commissioner or any labour officer can require all premises in the building used by the employer or recruiter to be kept clean and in a sanitary condition; require the employer or recruiter to return to the place of his recruitment or send to hospital any person who is ill and for whom the conditions prevailing at any place of employment is not conducive to the recovery of his health; where any particular place is unsanitary according to the Commissioner or Labour Officer. Directions can be issued to the person for the time being responsible for the management to discontinue such occupation

It is the duty of the Commissioner and Labor Officers to furnish technical information and advice to any employer or employee regarding the most effective means of complying with legislative requirements.

Source: §3, 4 & 11 of the Employment Act, 2011

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