Hazardous Employment under Factory Act
Hazardous means “dangerous or risky” and employment means “hiring or giving work to someone or engaging in work under someone”. So basically hazardous employment means engaging in some kind of dangerous or risky work. Hazardous employment is done only in factories dealing with hazardous processes. Hazardous processes are those process’ which may cause harm or risk and danger to the life of anyone be it environment, person etc. These processes include machinery hazard, chemicals hazard, workplace hazard etc.
Types of Hazardous Employment
There are several types of hazardous employment or workplace hazards such as :
1. Ergonomic Hazardous Employment
Ergonomic hazardous employment includes engagement of bodywork, that is this type of employment causes the employer to engage in any kind of work like construction, etc that directly affect the body pose or muscle strain or body positions. It may include repetition lifting, awkward posture, etc. Basically short term employment in this type of workplace can lead to several injuries or pain but the long-term employment in this type of workplace can lead to serious injuries that may affect the body for the long term.
2. Physical Hazardous Employment
Physical hazardous employment consists of risky work in dangerous conditions which may affect the body physically, sometimes without even touching. This may be caused by noise, radiation, temperature, etc. The type of work in physical hazardous employment may include working in construction, oil, and gas, mining, laboratory, organization which makes sound or radiation-related technology. Extreme care shall be taken by the factories or the organization that hires the employers under certain hazardous conditions like use of proper technologies, proper training, proper instructions given, proper equipment used.
3. Chemical Hazardous Employment
Chemical hazardous employment mostly consists of chemical production, which in a way are harmful, because inefficiency in chemical handling (not stored, not used properly ) can lead to several injuries and illness, sometimes even deaths. Chemicals can cause prolonged injury or never-ending injury to anyone working with it if not handled properly, as it can harm the skin, cause inhalation, ingestion etc. Some chemical hazardous employment are safer than others but not to people who are prone to chemicals or sensitive to chemicals.
There are various types of diseases, allergies, that a person develops from his day-to-day life and that’s basically because of exposure to anything (like animal husbandry, plant materials, people, toilet cleansing) that are associated to any kind of disease or allergies. Basically, this kind of hazardous employment is done in farms, private industries laboratory, nursing homes, emergency facilities of the hospital, daycare services, hospitals, college, universities etc. This is one hazardous employment because it includes working for people who may have some kind of disease or injuries.
Psychological hazardous employment mostly deals with the mental health of a person. When a person works in any kind of industry, he involves with the other employees in the industry, there can be instances when the person is bullied or deals with a lot of stress, violence etc in his workplace. This can lead to ineffective production. This type of hazardous employment is the most basic and most common type of employment. However, nowadays may organizations have created a separate department that deals with the stress of the workers and helps them on regular basis.
We have witnessed a lot of growth in industries in India. As the country is developing industrial reforms are also being held. The growth of industries, factories, organization has a huge role in growth of Indian Economy. As the growth continued, many poor people started working in the factories for more profitability through better earnings, but the main problem faced was that working in factories is extremely hazardous, it may give money to poor people but would also be causing them lifelong injuries.
The factory act was first enacted in 1881, seeing the problem of not having any kind of provisions for the working conditions in the factory, but the act was amended several times as it showed many loopholes and defects. Finally The Factory Act, 1934 was consolidated and amended the provisions related to labor environment and protection in 1948 and the came into force on 1949.
There were several objectives set by the government before enacting the Factories Act, 1948 and they are as follows:
- The main objective was to regulate the working conditions of the workers working in hazardous conditions.
- To regulate the working hours for the workers, as it says no worker shall work for more than 48 hours a week.
- This lays down certain provisions that helps in regulating the health of the workers by taking every necessary precautions like regulating temperature, proper drainage system, ventilation, adequate lighting etc.
- This act also regulates certain provisions which look for safety of the workers working in it.
- There are provisions in this act which enable factories to keep every sort of facilities which can be used for the welfare of the workers. for example medical facilities, clothes storing facilities, restrooms etc.
- And for the application the following provisions this act also gives punishment to the person violating the above laws which can be imprisonment or fine or both.
Hazardous Employment under Factory Act
Under the factory act, many provisions were made for hazardous employment in hazardous processes. According to the factory act, first schedule, hazardous processes means any kind of process or activity that would cause damage to the person engaged to it or the environment1.
The provisions made for employment in hazardous processes are as follows:
1. Section 41
- This provision was inserted when the amendment of this act took place in 1987
- in these 2 schedules were included
- first one is industries involved in hazardous process
- second one is the permissible level of certain chemicals used in the factories
2. Section 41a
- This section deals with the appointment of ‘site appraisal committee which suggest the location the factory
- this committee include the chief inspector, representative of Central board of prevention of water pollution, representative of the meteorological department, representative of town planning and occupational health
3. Section 41b
- This section states that it is the duty of the occupier to disclose the information if the site where site is related is hazardous in nature
- this information should be disclosed to the local authority, general public and workers.
4. Section 41c
- Under this section the occupier of the factory is obliged to maintain the records, health or his workers
- He is also responsible to appoint qualified supervisors to look after the workers and provide all the necessary facilities
5. Section 41d
This sections states that the government should appoint an inquiry committee for the production of hazardous material so that they could regulate the safety and health measures and take actions accordingly.
Apart from this various health and safety measures are also taken under provisions of the Factories Act, 1948 :
- Section 11 talks about the cleanliness in the factory, which includes the cleanliness of the environment, machines & workers as well
- Section 13 talks about the regulation of temperature and ventilation in the factory
- Section 18 and section 19 talks about the mandatory system of drinking water & urinals and latrines respectively
Since most of the factories deal with hazardous processes, the legislation body has laid down rules and regulations that help the people under hazardous employment to live with dignity and in the safe environment according to Article 21 of the constitution. The government has done many amendments to the provisions of the Factories Act, 1948 and will continue to do if anything would trouble or violate the fundamental rights of the people under hazardous employment.
This article is authored by Arpit Chauhan, Second-Year, BBA. LL.B student at Gitrattan International Business School, GGSIPU.
Also Read – Factories Act 1948 – Is There A Need For Reform