Factories Act 1948

Factory Act 1948

1.      Government regulation o the working condition in factories begins in India in 1881 when the first Indian factories Act was passed.

2.      This act was substantially amended in 1934 on the basis ob the recommendations of the Royal commission on labour.

3.      The act of 1934 dividend factories into two categories-seasonal and perennial.

4.      This act was amended several times.

5.      On the eve of independence the national government announced far reaching legislative program for the welfare of workers.

6.      As a part of this program, the factories act 1948 was passed.

7.      The factories act 1948 is comprehensive in nature and through it the government has tried to implement as many provisions of the ILO code of industrial hygiene as were practicable under Indian conditions.

8.      The factories act was substantially amended in 1976.

9.      Since then there has been substantial modernization and innovation in the industrial field.

10.  Provisions have also been made for the workers participation in safety management.


The main objective of the factories act is to regulate conditions of work in manufacturing establishing and to ensure adequate safety sanitation, health, working hours, leave with wages and weekly holidays for workers employed in such establishment.

  • The act is a protective legislation.  It also regulates employment of women and young persons in factories.
  • The factories ac 1948 came into force on April 1st, 1948.  It applies to factories all over India.
  • Unless otherwise stated this act shall apply to factories belonging to central and state governments.

Definition of Factory

According to Sec 2 (m) factory means:

In simple words, a factory is a premise whereon 10 or more persons are engaged if power is used, or 20 or more persons are engaged if power is not used, in a manufacturing process.

Whereon 10 or more workers are working or were working on any day of the preceding 12 months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on with the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on.

The first Factories Act in India was passed in 1881. It was designed primarily to protect children and to provide for some health and safety measures. It was followed by new Acts in 1891, 1911 & 1934. The act of 1934 was passed to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Labour in India & the conventions of the International Labour Organization.

Hence the Factories Act of 1948. The Act makes detailed provisions regarding health, safety and welfare of workers, working hours of adults, employment of young persons (which includes children & adolescents), annual leave with wages, and so on.

The Act of 1948 not only consolidated but also amended the law regulating labour in factories. It came into force on 1st April, 1949. In farming the new Act, the labour Minister stated in the Legislature on 30th January, 1948 that the Government had tried to implement as many of the provisions of the I.L.O code of industrial hygiene as were practicable under Indian conditions and the provisions relating to periodical medical examination of young persons and the submission of plans of factory buildings recommended under the International Labour Conventions.

Its objective is to regulate the conditions of work in manufacturing establishment which come within the definition of the term ‘factory’ as used in the Act. Unless otherwise provided, it also applies to factories belonging to the central or state Government (sec. 116).

The Act was substantially amended in 1987. Some provisions of the Amending Act came into force with effect from 1st Dec, 1987 & others from 1st June, 1988.

Objects of the Acts:

The Act is a piece of social welfare legislation. It governs working conditions of workmen in factories. It deals mainly with:

  1. Health, welfare and safety of workmen: The Act aims to protect workers employed in factories against industrial and occupational hazards and to ensure safe and healthy conditions of life and work. It makes detail provisions regarding health, safety and welfare of workers in order to provide good working conditions and other facilities to enhance their welfare.
  2. Working hour’s of adults and annual leave with wages: the Act imposes certain restriction as to hour’s of work and also makes provision for leave and rest.
  3. Employment of women and young persons: the Act makes stringent provisions, particularly with regard to length of working hours, in regard to women and young persons.

Health, Safety and Welfare:

The Act makes detailed provisions in regard to various matters relating to health, safety and welfare of the worker.  These provisions impose upon the occupiers or managers certain obligations:-

  1. To protect workers, unwary as well as negligent, from accident, and
  2. To secure for them in employment, conditions conducive to their health, safety, and welfare. These provisions also require the occupiers or managers to maintain inspection staff and to make provision for maintenance of health, cleanliness, prevention for over crowding and amenities like lighting, ventilation, drinking water, etc.

The factories act with regard to the Health of workers:

The Act deals with the provisions ensuring the health of the workers in the conditions under which work is carried on in factories. These provisions are as follows:

1. Cleanliness (Sec.11): Factory to be kept clean and free from effluvia and dirt.

  • Every factory shall be kept clean and free from effluvia arising from any drain, privy, or other nuisance. Accumulation of dirt and refuse shall be removed daily by some effective method.
  • Effective means of drainage.  Where a floor is liable to become wet in the course of any manufacturing process to such an extent as is capable of being drained, effective means of drainage shall be provided.
  • Use of disinfectants, etc., painting and varnishing.  Use of disinfectants, detergents, painting, repainting and varnishing, revarnishing, whitewashing or colourwashing shall be resorted to.
  1. All inside walls and partitions, all ceilings or tops of rooms and all walls, sides and tops of passages and staircases where they are painted otherwise than with washable water-paint or varnished, shall be repainted at least once in every 5 years.
  2. The dates on which these processes are carried out shall be entered in the prescribed register.
  3. Further all doors and window frames and other wooden or metallic framework and shutters shall be kept painted or varnished and the painting or varnishing shall be carried out at least once in every 5 years.
  • Exemption: If, in view of the nature of the operations carried on in a factory or class or description of factories, it is not possible for the occupier to comply with the above provisions, the state government may by order exempt such factory or class or description of factories or part of a factory from any of these provisions and specify alternative methods for keeping the factory in a clean state.

2. Disposal of wastes and effluents (Sec.12):

  1. Treatment of wastes and effluents and their disposal.  Effective arrangements shall be made in every factory for the treatment of wastes and effluents due to the manufacturing process carried on therein, so as to render them innocuous, and for their disposal.
  2. Rules by the State Government prescribing arrangements.  The state Government may make rules prescribing the arrangements to be made in this regard.  It may also require that such arrangements shall be approved by such authority as may be prescribed.

3. Ventilation and temperature: (Sec.13)

1)      Maintenance of adequate ventilation and temperature.  Effective and suitable provision shall be made in every factory for securing and maintaining in every workroom-

  • Adequate ventilation by the circulation of fresh air, and
  • Such a temperature as will secure to workers there in reasonable conditions of comfort and prevent injury to health.

2)      Process producing high temperature to be separated.  The walls and roofs shall be of such materials and so designed that the temperature shall not be exceeded but kept as low as practicable.  The process which produces high temperatures shall be separated from the workroom, by insulating the hot parts or by other effective means.

3)      Standard of adequate ventilation and temperature to be prescribed and provision of measuring instruments.  The State Government may prescribe a standard of adequate ventilation and reasonable temperature for any factory.  It may further direct that proper measuring instruments shall be provided and such records as may be prescribed shall be maintained.

The walls and roofs must be of such material and so designed that the temperature shall not exceed but kept as law as practicable.  The process which products high temperatures shall be separated from the work room, by insulating the hot part or by other effective means.

4. Dust and fume (Sec.14): Effective measures shall be taken in every factory for prevention of inhalation or accumulation of dust and fumes in work rooms.  In any factory no stationary internal combustion engine shall be operated unless the exhaust is conducted into the open  air.

5. Artificial humidification (Sec.15): In respect of all factories in which the humidity of the air is artificially increased, the State Government may make rules prescribing standards of humidification.  It shall also make rules prescribing methods to be adopted for securing adequate ventilation and cooling of the air in the work room.

In any factory in which the humidity of the air is artificially increased the water used for the purpose shall be taken from a public supply or other source of drinking water, or shall be effectively purified before it is so used.

6. Overcrowding (Sec.16): There must not be overcrowding in any room of the factory to the extend injurious to the health of the workers employed therein.  There must be at least 350 cubic feet (in respect of factories in existence before 1st April 1949) and  500 cubic feet (in respect of factories built after the commencement of the Act i.e., 1st April 1949) of space every worker.

If the Chief Inspector by order in writing so requires, there shall be posted in each work room of a factory a notice specifying the number or workers who may be employed in the room.

7. Lighting (Sec.16):

8. Drinking water (Sec.18)

9. Latrines and Urinals (Sec.19)

10. Spittoons (Sec.20)

The factories act with regard to the safety of workers:

Sections 21 to 40 lay down the provisions with regard to the safety of workers.  The following are the provisions:-

1)      Fencing of machinery Sec.21): In every factory, every dangerous part of any machinery shall be securely fenced by safeguards of substantial constructions, which shall be kept in position while the part of machinery they are fencing are in motion or in use.  The expression dangerous parts means any reasonably be anticipated, even if such danger would airse from negligence or some outside source.

2)      Work on or near machinery in motion (Sec.22): Wherein any factory it becomes necessary to examine any part of machinery while the machinery is in motion, such examination shall be made only by a specially trained adult male worker wearing tight fighting clothing.

3)      Employment of young persons on dangerous machines (Sec.23) : No young person shall work on any machine to which this section applies unless he has been fully instructed as to the dangers arising in connection with the machines and the precautions to be observed and has received sufficient training to work on the machine.

4)      Striking gear and devices for cutting off power (Sec.24)

5)      Self-acting machines (Sec.25)

6)      Casing of new machinery (Sec.25)

7)      Prohibition of employment of women and children near cotton openers (Sec.27)

8)      Hoists and Lifts (Sec.28)

9)      Lifting machines, chains, ropes and lifting tackles(Sec.29)

10)  Revolving machinery (Sec.30)

11)  Pressure point (Sec.31)

12)  Floors, Stairs, and means of access (Sec.32)

13) Protection of eyes (Sec.35)

14) Precautions in case of fire (Sec.38)

15) Safety of Buildings and machinery (Sec.40)

The welfare facilities to be provided in a factory under the factories act, 1948:

Sec 42 to 50 of the Factories Act, 1948 deal with the welfare of the workers.

1)      Washing facilities (sec. 42) in every factory adequate and suitable facilities for washing shall be provided and maintained for the use of the workers therein. Such facilities conveniently accessible & shall be kept clean.

2)      Facilities for storing & drying clothing (Sec.43) State Government may in respect of any factory, make rules requiring the provisions therein of suitable place for keeping clothing not worn during working hours & for the drying of wet clothing.

3)      Facilities for sitting (Sec 44) In every factory suitable arrangements for sitting shall be provided & maintained for all workers who are obliged to work in a standing position. This has been done in order that the workers may take advantage of the opportunities for rest which may occur in the course of their work.

4)      First-aid appliance (Sec.45) There shall in every factory be provided and maintained so as to be readily accessible during all working hours first-aid boxes or cupboards equipped with the prescribed contents and the number of 6such boxes or cupboards to be provided and mainted shall not be less than one for every 50 workers.

5)      Canteen (Sec. 46)

6)    Shelter, rest room and lunch rooms (Sec 47)

The Factories Act regarding the Working hours of adults:

  1. Weakly hours (sec.51) No adult worker can be required to work or allowed to work in a factory for more than 48 hours in any week.
  2. Weekly holiday (sec.52) Every adult worker in a factory must be allowed a holiday during the week.
  3. Compensatory holiday (sec. 53) Where a worker is deprive an equal numbered of any of the weekly holidays under sec. 52, he shall be allowed compensatory holiday of an equal number to the holiday so lost. That holiday allowed within two months immediately following that month.
  4. Daily hours (sec. 54) Subject to the provisions of sec. 51, no adult worker shall be required to work in a factory for more than 9 hours in a day.
  5. Intervals for rest (Sec. 55) The periods of work of adult workers in a factory shall be so fixed each day that no period shall exceed five hours before he had an interval for rest of at least half an hours.
  6. Nightshift (sec.57)
  7. Prohibition of overlapping shifts (sec. 590)
  8. Extra wage for overtime (sec. 59)
  9. Notice of period of work for adult 9sec. 61)
  10. Further restrictions on employment of women (sec. 66)

Source: Docstoc.com

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