The Factories Act 1948 – Section 42 to 48 of the Indian Factories Act, 1948, contain specific provisions relating to the welfare of labour in factories. Section 42 to 45 apply to all the factories irrespective of the number of workers employed. Sections 46 to 49 are applicable to factories employing more than a specified number of workers. These provisions are as discussed below :
Provisions of The Factories Act 1948
(I) Washing Facilities – According to Sec. 42 in every factory :
- adequate and suitable facilities for washing shall be provided and maintained for the use of the workers therein.
- Separate and adequately screened facilities shall be provided for the use of male and female workers.
- Such facilities shall be conveniently accessible and shall be kept clean.
(II) Facilities for storing and drying clothing – Under Sec. 43, the state government may in respect of any factory or class or description of factories make rules requiring the provisions therein of suitable places for keeping clothing not worn during working hours and for the drying of wet clothing.
(III) Facilities for Sitting – According to Sec. 44, in every factory, suitable arrangement for sitting shall be provided and maintained for all workers obliged to work in a standing position, in order that they may take advantage if any opportunities for rest which may occur in the course of their work.
(IV) First aid appliances – Under Sec. 45, these 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 such boxes or cupboards to be provided and maintained shall not be less than one for every one hundred and fifty workers ordinarily employed at any one time in the factory.
In every factory wherein more than five hundred workers are ordinarily employed there shall be provided and maintained an ambulance room of the prescribed size, containing the prescribed equipment and in the charge of such medical and nursing staff as may be prescribed and those facilities shall always be made readily available during the working hours of the factory.
(V) Canteens – Under Sec. 46, the state government may make rules requiring that in any specified factory where in more than two hundred and fifty workers are ordinarily employed, a canteen or canteens shall be provided and maintained by the occupier for the use of the workers. Such rules may provide for
- the date by which such canteen shall be opened.
- the standards in respect of construction, accommodation, furniture and other equipments of the canteen.
- the food stuffs to be served therein and the charges which may be made there for.
- the construction of a managing committee for the canteen and representation of the workers in the management of canteen.
- the items of expenditure in running of canteen which are not to be taken into account in fixing the cost of food stuffs and which shall be borne by the employer.
(VI) Shelters, rest rooms and lunch rooms – According to Sec. 47, in every factory whereas more than one hundred and fifty workers are ordinarily employed adequate and suitable shelters, rest rooms and a suitable lunch room with provision for drinking water, where workers can eat meals brought by them, shall be provided and maintained for the use of the workers.
(VII) Creches – According to Sec. 48, in every factory where more than 30 women workers are ordinarily employed, there shall be provided and maintained a suitable room or rooms for the use of children under the age of six years of such women. Such rooms shall provide adequate accommodation, shall be adequately lighted and ventilated and shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition and shall be under the charge of women trained in the care of children and infants. The State government may make rules for providing additional facilities for the care of children for washing and changing their clothing and providing them free milk and to feed them by the mothers at the necessary intervals in the factory.
(VIII) Welfare Officers – In every factory wherein five hundred or more workers are ordinarily employed, the occupier shall employ in the factory, such number of welfare officers as may be prescribed. The state government may prescribe the duties, qualifications and conditions of service of welfare officers appointed under the provisions of the Factories act.