Statutory Provisions for Safety in India:
The Factories Act contains specific provisions for the safety of workers. These are referred to in Sections 21 to 40.
- Fencing of the Machinery:
It is obligatory on the part of the management to fence machinery with guards of a substantial construction, which shall be maintained and kept in position when any part of the machinery is in motion.
- Work on or Near Machinery in Motion:
Any examination, adjustment or lubrication of any part of an operating machine shall be effected or carried out by a specially trained male worker wearing tight-fitting clothing.
This worker, however, shall not handle a belt on a moving pulley:
(a) If the belt is more than fifteen centimeters in width;
(b) Unless the belt joint is either laced or flushed with the belt;
(e) Unless the pulley is normal for the purpose of a drive and not a fly-wheel or a balance wheel;
(d) Unless the belt, including the joint and the pulley rim, is in a state of good repair;
(e) Unless there is a reasonable clearance between the pulley and any fixed part of a machine or structure;
(f) Unless a secure foothold and, where necessary, a secure handhold are provided for the operator; and
(g) Unless the ladder to be used for carrying out any examination, adjustment or lubrication of any part of a machine is securely fixed or lashed or is firmly held by another person.
No woman or adolescent is allowed to clean, lubricate or adjust any part of a machine which is in motion if it is likely to expose her or him to the risk of injury from any moving part.
- Employment of adolescents on dangerous machines:
No adolescent shall be allowed to work on any machine which poses a danger to him unless:
(a) He has been fully instructed to be aware of the particular danger that is likely to arise from the machine and to observe the necessary precautions; and
(b) He has received training on that machine or is under the supervision of a person who has a thorough knowledge of, and experience in working on, the machine.
- Striking Gear or Device for Cutting off Power:
In every factory, a suitable striking ear or other efficient mechanical appliance shall be provided and maintained. Driving belts, when not in use, shall not be allowed to rest or ride on a shaft in motion. Suitable devices for cutting off power in an emergency shall be provided and maintained in every work room.
When a device, which is likely to be inadvertently shifted from the “off to the “on” position, is provided in a factory to cut off power, arrangements should be made to lock it in a safe position with a view to preventing any accidental starting of the transmission machinery or any other machines to which the device is fitted.
- Self-Acting Machines:
No transverse part of self-acting machine and no material carried thereon shall be allowed to run on its outward or inward transverse within a distance of 45 centimeters from any fixed structure which is not a part of the machine.
- Prohibition’ of employment of women and children near cotton openers:
No woman or child shall be employed in any part of a factory to press cotton when a cotton-opener is at work. But if the feed-end of a cotton-opener is in a room which is separated from ‘the delivery-end by a partition extending to the roof or to such height as the factory inspector may specify in writing, women and children may be employed in that part of the room in which the feed end is situated.
- Hoists and Lifts:
In every factory, hoists and lifts shall be of good mechanical construction and of sound material; and they shall be sufficiently strong and properly maintained. Every hoist- way and lift shall be adequately protected by a proper enclosure fitted with gates. The maximum safe working load shall be clearly indicated on every hoist or lift. A heavier load shall not be allowed to be carried on that hoist or lift.
Lifting machines, tackles, chains and ropes- In every factory, lifting machines, tackles, chains and ropes shall be of good construction and of sound material. They shall be free from defects and strong enough to carry the necessary loads.
- Revolving Machinery:
In every room in which grinding jobs are carried on, a notice indicating the maximum working speed of the machine shall be fixed near it.
- Pressure Plant:
In any operation which is carried on at a pressure which is higher than the atmospheric pressure, effective measures should be taken to ensure that the safe working pressure is not exceeded.
- Floors, Stairs, and Other Means of Access:
All doors, steps, stairs, passages and gangways shall be of sound construction and shall be kept and maintained, in a state of good repair; and they shall be free of obstructions. No substance, which is likely to cause a person to slip, shall be kept near them.
Necessary provisions should be made for a secure handhold or fencing to ensure the safety of persons working at a place from where he is likely to fall from a distance exceeding two meters.
- Pits and Openings in Floor:
In every factory, even fixed vessel, tank, pit or opening in the floor, which may be a source of danger, shall be securely covered or securely fenced.
- Excessive Weights:
No person shall be employed in any factory to lift, carry or move any load which is so heavy as to cause him possible injury.
Precautions against Dangerous Fumes:
No person employed in a factory shall be allowed to enter any chamber, tank, vat, pit, flue or such other confined place in which dangerous fumes are likely to be present to such an extent as to constitute a hazard unless such chamber, tank, vat, pit or flue is provided with a manhole of a large enough size or with similar other means of egress.
Precautions against the use of portable electric lights in any factory:
(a) No portable electric light or any other electric appliance of a voltage exceeding 24 volts shall be permitted for use inside any chamber, tank, vat, pit, flue, or confined place;
(b) If any inflammable gas, fume or dust is likely to be present in such chamber, tank, vat, pit, flue, or confined place, no lamp or light other than the one which is flame-proof, shall be permitted to be used therein.
- Explosive or Inflammable Gas or Dust:
When, in any factory, any manufacturing process produces dust, gas, fume or vapour of such nature and to such an extent that is likely to explode on ignition, all practical measures shall be taken to prevent such explosion by-
- An effective enclosure of the plant or machinery used in the processes;
- The removal or prevention of accumulated dust, gas or fume; and
- The exclusion or effective enclosure of all possible sources of ignition.
Precautions in case of fire:
The following precautions shall be taken:
(a) Exit doors shall not be locked or fastened and shall be capable of being easily opened; and they shall be so constructed as to open outwards;
(b) Proper means of escape shall be provided in every industrial establishment;
(c) Every door, window or other exit, through which persons can escape in the event of a fire, shall be distinctly marked in red letters in a language that is understood by workers;
(d) Proper arrangements shall be made to raise an alarm in the event of a fire; it would be preferable if a siren is sounded so that workers may recognise the signal as an indication that a fire has broken out somewhere in the factory premises;
(e) All the exits should be easily and freely accessible to all the workers in every place in the factory premises, so that they can easily make their escape when a fire breaks out; and
(f) All the workers shall be trained in the routine to be followed in the event of a fire in the factory premises.
- Safety of Building and Safety and Health Machinery:
When a building or machinery poses a danger to workers, it shall not be used till it has been suitably repaired or altered.
Indian government enacted an Act known as Factories Act, safety regarding the following:
(a) Fencing of machines.
(b) Work near the machine in motion.
(c) Employment of child and woman.
(d) Striking device or gear for power cut off.
(e) Hoists and lifts.
(f) Pressure plants.
(g) Excessive weights.
(h) Inflammable and fumes.
(i) Fire precautions,
(j) Eye protection,
(k) Floor, stairs and others.
A comprehensive industrial health and safety program should include:
- A professional staff of physicians and nurses.
- Adequate facilities for emergency care and injuries sustained in the course of work and for the conduct of pre-employment and post-employment medical check-ups.
- Proper first aid treatment for occupational injuries and diseases.
- A careful post-employment medical examination of those who are exposed to particular occupational hazards.
- Reasonable first-aid treatment of employees for non-occupational ailments.
- Information and educational services, which aim at promoting the health of employees.
- The maintenance of adequate and confidential medical records.
- Cooperation of the organization’s medical officer with those who are responsible for accident prevention and control of environment with a view to achieving an integrated employee health program.
- Cooperation with public health authorities in implementing mass inoculation program and other measures for the prevention of communicable diseases.
- Advice on and supervision of, with provision and maintenance of satisfactory sanitary conditions in the factory premises.
The following facts should be given due consideration in any safety organization program:
- Safety programs must have top management approval, sanction and support.
- Responsibility for safety must rest with the supervisory personnel.
- Safety must be given equally important consideration in the elimination of mechanical and personal hazards
- Provision must be made for prompt action in the elimination of mechanical and personal hazards
- A definite safety program must be developed so as to educate all employees in safety and to secure their active cooperation in the effort to eliminate accidents.
- Safety must be included in all phases of planning, purchasing, supervision and operation.
Safety management refers to the act of protecting the physical well-being of the employees. It also involves minimisation of the risks of accidents at the place of work.