Assam Labour Welfare Department has issued a notification on 27.07.2022 regarding instructions for stringent compliance of each provision of the Factories Act 1948 and the Rules made thereunder in the interest of the health and safety of the workers.
It is observed that there is a sudden surge in the number and frequency of accidents in tea factories in recent times. A series of accidents occurred in close gap in several tea factories causing physical injuries and sufferings to the workers. Past and present tea factory workers told News laundry their employers never provide workers with safety gear, despite the risk of severe injury. This is despite the Factories Act of 1948 mandating that workers be adequately equipped with gear and also wear “tight-fitting clothes” to prevent clothing from being caught in machinery.
The act also clearly states that only “trained workers” should operate machines with safety gears in place, while women and young persons are barred from cleaning, lubricating or adjusting machinery when the machinery is in motion.
A close review of the accidents by this Inspectorate revealed that the observed poor performance of the general duties and responsibilities of the occupiers as stipulated in the Section 7A have largely contributed to the occurrences of the accidents.
A meeting was held on 27.07.2022 in the office of the Hon’ble Minister, Labour Welfare Department on the subject of urgent steps that are to be taken by the Inspectorate of Factories, Govt. of Assam to arrest any further accident in the factories of the State of Assam.
In the interest of the health and safety of the workers, the managements of all factories are hereby instructed for stringent compliance of each provision of the Factories Act 1948 and the Rules made thereunder and in particular, the following measures must be ensured for scrupulous compliance ;
- All the systems of work and plants are to be maintained in a safe condition so as not pose any risk of injury and health damage to the workers while working with them.
- The use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances shall be ensured with safety and absence of risks to health.
- The workers and other stakeholders of all factories shall invariably be provided with training, information, instruction and supervision that are necessary to ensure health and safety of all workers at work.
- Workplaces are to be maintained in a condition that is safe and without risks to the health of the workers. Walk ways, path ways shall be left unobstructed and defined. The means of access to and egress from confined places shall be maintained in proper condition.
- Provision, maintenance or monitoring of safe, healthy work environment shall be ensured with adequate welfare facilities and arrangements for the workers while they are at work.
- Provision and use of Personal protective equipment and other safety gears by the workers such as safety shoes, helmets, masks, head covers, gloves, aprons etc. must be ensured by the managements.
- Every moving part of the machines, belts, pulleys, shafts, pinions etc. must be securely fenced with safeguards of substantial construction.
- While allotting the work assignment to the workers, emphasis must be exerted on the training, skill, experience and competency of the worker to do that particular job allotted to him/her. Certificate of competency as required by the section 22(1) of the factories Act 1948 must ensure in case of work requiring the same.
- No woman or young person shall be allowed to clean, lubricate or adjust any part of a prime mover or of any transmission machinery while the prime mover or transmission machinery is in motion, or to clean, lubricate or adjust any part of any machine if the cleaning, lubrication or adjustment thereof would expose the woman or young person to risk of injury from any moving part either of that machine or of any adjacent machinery.
- Every worker employed in the factory shall be provided with an appointment letter with necessary credentials and their names shall be entered in the registers prescribed in this behalf.
- Any worker including the women workers must not be allowed to enter the factory premise with loose dresses such as Shari, Gamocha, Lungi, Dopatta etc. that poses the risk of entanglement with the moving machineries.
- All the pressure vessels, compressors and systems that are operated above the atmospheric pressure must be tested and certified by a competent person recognized in this behalf before they are taken into use as per law.
- All the lifts, hoists, floor cranes, overhead cranes, lifting machines, tackles, chain pulleys
etc. are to be tested and certified by a competent person recognized in this behalf before they are taken into use as per law.
- Emergency stopping device must be incorporated to each machine.
- Every occupier shall prepare and revise a written statement of his general policy with respect to the health and safety of the workers at work and the organization and arrangements for carrying out that policy and bring the same to the notice of all the workers.
- CCTV Surveillance shall be incorporated in the supervision of the operations of the factories. The CCTV footage shall provide a clear and unobstructed view of the factory operations. The footage of CCTV so incorporated shall be furnished to the local Inspector of Factories on monthly basis.
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