ADMINISTRATION OF THE FACTORIES ACT IN MAHARASHTRA A. M. SARMA The...
ADMINISTRATION OF THE FACTORIES ACT IN MAHARASHTRA
A. M. SARMA
The importance of proper implementation of the Factories Act to promote the health,
safety, welfare and working conditions of the factory workers need not be over emphasized. It is
the responsibility of the factory management to ensure that all the provisions of the Act are
observed not only in letter but also in spirit. The intention of the Act is that employers should
provide more and better facilities than required by the Act. The article deals with the enforce-
ment of this vital piece of legislation by the Inspectorate of Factories, Maharashtra and
refers to various suggestions made by different bodies for effective implementation of the
Act.
Dr. A. M. Sarma is a member of the Faculty of Personnel Management and Industrial
Relations, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay.
Introduction
Governments who administer it through
their own Factory Inspectorates. The onus
The Factories Act was passed first in for compliance with the provisions of the
1881 as a result of the recommendations Act wholly rests on the occupier of the
of the Factory Commission appointed by Factory, though certain obligations are also
the Government of Bombay in 1875. It was imposed on workers. The Directorate
found inadequate in many respects. How-
General of Factory Advice Service and
ever, it recognised the right of the Govern-
Labour Institutes co-ordinate the work of
ment to safeguard the interests of the enforcement of the Factories Act through-
workers by means of suitable legislations. out the country, frames Model Rules and
The Act was amended subsequently in the suggests amendments to the Act and the
years 1891, 1911, 1922 incorporating several Rules in consultation with the State Chief
important provisions such as coverage of Inspectors of Factories.
the Act to establishments employing 20 or
more workers, conditions for employing
The Factory Inspectorate of the Govern-
women and children, fixing the daily hours ment of Maharashtra mainly enforces the
of work, appointment of full-time inspec-
Factories Act along with other Acts like
tors etc. Following the recommendations of Payment of Wages Act, Cotton Ginning
the Royal Commission on Labour, the and Pressing Act, Employment of Children
Factories Act of 1934 was passed. It aimed Act, Workmen's Compensation Act and
at the improvement of working conditions Maternity Benefit Act. The Chief Inspector
within the factory, reduction of hours of of Factories is the head of the office and
work, provision of rest sheds and creches is under the administrative control of the
in big factories etc The Factories Act of Commissioner of Labour who is the head
1948, a comprehensive piece of legislation, of the department. There are four Deputy
contained many important provisions re-
Chief Inspectors of Factories, two for
garding health, safety, welfare, employment Bombay Region and one each for Nagpur
of young persons and women, hours of work and Pune Regions. There is an Industrial
for adults and children, holidays, leave with Hygiene Section in the Inspectorate which
wages etc.
looks into the health hazards faced by the
Industrial workers employed in various
factories.
Inspectorate of Factories
Although the Rules made by different
The responsibility for administration of State Governments under the Act are more
the Factories Act rests with the State or less uniform, the extent of implementa-

210
A. M. SARMA
TABLE 1
ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY FOR FACTORIES ACT IN PUNE, NAGPUR AND BOMBAY IN THE YEAR 1979
Source: Office of the Chief Inspector of Factories, Bombay.
tion varies depending upon the number of Inspections
factories and strength of the Factory Ins-
pection Service of a State. There were 14,881
The Chief Inspector of Factories is
registered factories in Maharashtra under responsible for the enforcement of Factories
the Factories Act, 1948 as on 31st Decem-
Act in the whole of the Maharashtra State.
ber, 1978. The sanctioned and actual There are 14 sub-offices in the mofussil.
strength of the field officers excluding Chief The Inspector is normally required to do the
Inspector of Factories is given in table 1. following duties broadly classified as field
It is evident from table 1 that the Ins-
work and office work:
pector-Factories Ratio was 1 : 298 in Pune,
1 : 233 in Nagpur and 1 : 308 in Bombay.
Field work: (i) Inspection of factories
For Maharashtra, the ratio was 1 : 278 in
(ii) Enquiry into complaints (iii) Enquiry
1977. It reveals the inadequacy of the ins-
pecting staff for implementation of this
into accidents (iv) Survey work of facto-
vital piece of legislation. A comparison of
ries not registered under the Act (v)
the income and expenditure of the Maha-
Follow up action regarding inspection
rashtra State Factory Inspectorate for the
remarks (vi) To check up whether factory
years 1976-77 and 1977-78 reveals that
is constructed as per plans (vii) to check
there were savings of Rs. 7,37,307 and
illegal overtime working, holiday work-
Rs. 5,65,438 respectively, during the above
ing, night employment of female emplo-
period. These savings could have been
yees, (viii) Court attendance (ix) Enquiry
utilised for strengthening the staff position
into complaints regarding payment of
of the Inspectorate.
wages, deductions etc. (x) Talks to be

ADMINISTRATION OF THE FACTORIES ACT IN MAHARASHTRA
211
TABLE 2
NUMBER OF FACTORIES VISITED DURING THE YEARS 1973-1977
Source: Office of the Chief Inspector of Factories, Bombay.
delivered to the workers, supervisors etc. factory can be regarded as a right index
Office Work: (i) Scrutiny of plans (ii) for judging the efficiency of enforcement of
Scrutiny of accident reports and classi-
the Act. Inspections of the factories carried
fication, (iii) proposals for legal action, out under the Factories Act in Maharashtra
warning etc., (iv) to attend to the wor-
during 1973 to 1977 are indicated in table 2.
kers and their representatives, (v) Advice
Table 2 indicates that all covered facto-
to the Management, (vi) preparation of ries were inspected during 1973-77. Majority
reports of complaints, accidents, etc.
of the factories were inspected only once
in a year. But normally a factory has to
The inspector helps the worker in settling be visited twice in a year for effective in-
his grievances regarding payment of dues, spection. In some cases, more inspections
etc. The Inspectorate also extends help to are required, particularly where the manage-
the Maharashtra Welfare Board to collect ments are known to be slack in implemen-
unpaid accumulations. Safety posters are tation of the Act.
distributed to the factories free of cost. Health
Training classes are conducted for training
the representatives of the factories in regard
Medical Examination: Provision has been
to filling up of various returns under the made under section 69 of Factories Act to
laws enforced by the Inspectorate.
safeguard the health of young persons. A
The inspectors have to look after the young person even though fit for employ-
provisions regarding health, safety and ment in factories, as adult worker by virtue
welfare, leave with wages and employment of his physique and strength, is not con-
of children in factories. There is a direct sidered fit for employment in dangerous
relationship between the ratios mentioned operations covered under section 87 of
earlier and the number of inspections car-
Factories Act, 1948 and under Rule 114 of
ried out by the Inspectorate. The average Maharashtra Factories Rules, 1963. Emplo-
number of inspections carried out per yees engaged in dangerous operations are

212
A. M. SARMA
required to be examined by Medical Ins-
cupational diseases are now notifiable under
pector of Factories and/or certifying Surge-
the Factories Act and many of them have
on. These examinations are carried out to been brought under the purview of the
determine fitness of an employee to be workmen's Compensation Act. Some of the
employed in dangerous operations, allowed field studies conducted by the Directorate
to continue work in it or to be suspended General of Factory Advice Service and
temporarily or permanently from employ-
Labour Institutes have focussed attention
ment. Besides this, exposure to other physi-
on the high incidence of occupational
cal, chemical, mechanical and biological diseases-like Silicosis, coal miner's pneumo-
hazards and other adverse environmental coniosis, Byssinosis, Lead poisoning, Mer-
conditions in industries can also affect cury poisoning Dermatitis etc., in many
health and well being of the workers. To industries.
ensure that the health is not affected, it re-
quires periodical medical examination keep-
Safety
ing in view the nature of environmental
factors.
Trend of Accidents: One of the chief
The medical examination of young per-
objectives of the Act is to ensure safety of
sons performed during 1971-77 are given the workers employed in factories. A
in table-3.
number of provisions have been made in
Occupational Diseases: Many of the oc-
the Act relating to safety. The number of
TABLE 3
MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS OF YOUNG PERSONS

ADMINISTRATION OF THE FACTORIES ACT IN MAHARASHTRA
213
accidents and their frequency and' severity
TABLE 5
rate in Maharashtra is given in table 4.
CANTEEN FACILITIES IN THE FACTORIES
TABLE 4
TOTAL NUMBER OF ACCIDENTS AND THEIR FRE-
QUENCY AND SEVERITY RATE IN MAHARASHTRA
(1971-1977)
Source: (i) Annual Report 1974 and (ii) Office canteens and it is left to any individual unit,
of the Chief Inspector of Factories,
Bombay.
to justify and seek relaxation, if any, from
the Government. It is observed from table 5
Table 4 shows substantial rise in the total that the number of factories providing
number of accidents during the preceding canteen in 1977 has slightly declined over
three years over the previous years. The the figures in 1976. However, there is a
frequency rate had increased from 20.88 in marginal rise in the number of workers in
1971 to 23.41 in 1977 and also severity rate the factories having canteen facilities. It
from 1.93 in 1976 to 2.16 in 1977.
has been the experience of the Factory In-
spectorate over the years that management
Welfare
of factories having only a marginal increase
over the figure 250 and where there is pro-
Canteen: The position regarding number blem of space find a way out by retrench-
of factories who have provided canteen ing casual or temporary workers thereby
and the number of workers taking advan-
bringing the figure to well below 250
tage of the same is shown in table 5.
workers.
The Inspectorate notifies all factories
Creche: The data presented in table 6
employing 250 workers or more to provide indicate the number of factories who have

214
A. M. SARMA
TABLE 6
Miscellaneous
PROVISION OF CRECHE FACILITIES IN THE FACTORIES
Complaints: The Factory Inspectorate
Year
Creches
Children
receives complaints under the Factories
Act, payment of Wages Act, Maternity
1971
75
1860
Benefit Act, Workmen's Compensation Act,
1972
81
932
etc. Most of the complaints are in res-
pect of non-payment of wages, overtime
1973
83
1010
wages, accidents compensation etc. Out of
1974
69
1055
2,500 complaints received under different
legislations during the year 1977, the In-
1975
62
650
spectorate disposed off 2,328.
1976
55
652
Prosecutions: The Inspectorate takes
legal action against defaulting factories and
1977
42
442
the cases are decided by the Court of Law.
However, the Inspectorate prefers the en-
Source: (i) Annual Report 1974 and
(ii) Office of the Chief Inspector of forcement of the Act through persuasion
Factories, Bombay.
rather than through penalties. Prosecution
proceedings are launched only in cases of
provided creches and number of children serious and repeated breaches. The number
taking advantage of the same.
of prosecutions lodged and warnings issued
It is noticed from table 6 that the fac-
to the defaulting factory managements
tories having creches have come down from during 1971-1977 are shown in table 7.
75 in 1971 to 42 in 1977. The number of
children taking advantage of the creche
TABLE 7
facilities have also indicated a sharp fall PROSECUTIONS UNDER THE FACTORIES ACT IN
from 1860 in 1971 to 442 in 1977. The
MAHARASHTRA
reasons may be that the units where cre-
ches were existing only in name, with hard-
Year
Prosecutions Warnings
Amount of
ly any children, have been able to persuade
lodged
issued
Fine realised
the female workers to discontinue bringing
(Rs.)
their children to factories on some consi-
4
deration. In some cases, there are written
1
2
3
agreements while in some others it may be
only an understanding. The difficulties in 1971
660
360
32,001
transport simply discourage female workers 1972
610
416
26,760
from carrying young children to the place
of work. The reduction in number of 1973
510
494
25,140
creches appears rather conspicuous in tex-
1974
817
608
40,390
tile industry.
1975
994
657
65,045
Sitting Facilities: Sitting facilities have
been provided in a number of factories 1976
878
764
71,845
namely electrical goods manufacturing, 1977
988
940
77,000
pharmaceutical, garment factories, radio
assembling factories, biscuit manufacturing, Source: Office of the Chief Inspector of Factories,
telephone industries etc.
Bombay.

ADMINISTRATION OF THE FACTORIES A C T IN MAHARASHTRA
215
The subject-wise breakup of the prosecu-
(5) Setting up of a Standing Committee
tions lodged against the management of the
consisting of users of machines, ma-
factories during the year 1977 is as follows:
chine manufacturers and safety ex-
perts to ensure built-in-safety features
1. Safety including those against
at the stage of manufacture of equip-
landlords
93
ment and machinery.
2. Welfare
10
(6) Establishing State councils on the lines
of National Safety Council and also
3. Hours of work
11
Safety Councils for all major industries
4. Licence
137
and those involving hazardous occu-
5. Leave with wages
1
pation.
6. Registers, records etc.
660
(7) Periodical training courses in safety and
7. Hazardous occupations
1
accident prevention for Safety Officers
8. Procedural matters
75
and at middle management level.
(8) Further improvement in the provision
Total ... 988
of facilities in canteens, creches, rest
shelters etc.
In addition to the above prosecutions 940 '9) More stringent penal provisions so that
warnings were issued to the managements
the punishment awarded, acts as a real
for various contraventions of the Act after
deterrent. Serious and habitual offences
obtaining compliance.
particularly relating to safeguarding of
machinery and cases of occupational
Suggestions for better Implementation of the
diseases etc. should attract more rigor-
Act:
ous sanctions. Serious offences should
be made cognizable.
The following recommendations of the
National Commission on Labour (1969)
A few management officials, trade unio-
may be considered for better implementa-
nists and enforcement authorities under the
tion of the Act:
Act, have offered various suggestions for
effective implementation of the Act. Some
(1) Effective enforcement of the Act by of their suggestions are listed below:
increasing the frequency of the factory
inspections.
0) For adequate and vigorous inspec-
(2) Appointment of factory inspectors
tions, the strength of the present State
with non-technical qualifications to look
Factory Inspectorate should be in-
after routine matters and non-technical
creased. It should be so enlarged as to
provisions of the Act.
provide at least one inspector for
(3) The inspectors besides their enforce-
every 150 factories as recommended
ment duty act as advisers to the mana-
by the 16th Session of Labour Minis-
gement and assist them in organising
ter's Conference. Further the strength
training programmes and other activi-
of the field inspectors should increase
ties to bring about safety consciousness.
correspondingly with the rise in the
(4) Qualitative and quantitative improve-
number of factories.
ment of the Inspectorate by appointing
(2) Not only the number of inspections
specialists in different disciplines like
but their quality should improve. The
medicine and chemicals etc.
inspections should not be of a routine

216
A. M. SARMA
nature; it should be thorough in all
ordinate to the Commissioner of
respects and should have the aim of
Labour. This subordinate position
correcting promptly the deficiencies
lowers his status and authority in the
noted.
eyes of the Inspectorate, employers
(3) Usually the large sized units are visit-
and the employees. In order to en-
ed more frequently as compared to the
hance the prestige of the Factory In-
small sized units. Most of these visits
spectorate, it is necessary that the
are normally undertaken to enquire
Chief Inspector of Factories should be
into the accidents. The frequency of
independent of the Commissioner of
inspections should be evenly spread
Labour and directly responsible only
over between the above two catego-
to the State Government. As a matter
ries of units and inspection reports
of policy, the Labour Commissioner
should clearly depict the real position
who deals mainly with conciliation
of the factory regarding implementa-
and arbitration work should not con-
tion of various measures relating to
trol the Inspection Services.
health, safety, welfare, working condi-
(7) The Inspectors should be provided
tions etc.
with higher status, better emoluments
(4) There should be close co-operation
and attractive service prospects if the
between inspection service and the
inspection service is to deliver the
employers and workers. The workers
goods. Refresher Courses and Semi-
and their representatives belonging to
nars should be arranged more fre-
different trade unions should be
quently for the inspectors already in
afforded every possible opportunity
service in co-operation with the Cen-
for communicating freely with the
tral Labour Institute and Regional
inspectors. The inspectors, in turn,
Labour Institutes. They should also
should keep themselves in touch with
be deputed to more advanced coun-
the workers and their representatives
tries to study inspection procedures
as far as practicable so that workers
there.
may ventilate their grievances and (8) Rigorous steps should be taken for
problems.
medical examination of employees
(5) The services rendered by the State
engaged in dangerous operations by
Factory Inspectorate particularly in
Medical Inspector of Factories and/
providing safe working conditions in
or certifying Surgeon, covered under
many factories have not been appre-
different schedules under Rule 114 of
ciated so far either by the manage-
Maharashtra Factories Rules 1963 and
ment or the unions. Therefore the
Section 87 of Factories Act 1948.
actual work done by the Inspectorate
(9) On many occasions, some of the ma-
should receive wider publicity among
nagement representatives disregard
the workers and their unions. Further
the instructions of the factory inspec-
they should utilise to a greater extent
the various services provided by the
tors and indulge in irregularities
Inspectorate.
for years together. Strict deterrent
action should be taken against such
(6) As the enforcement authority of an
employers and the penalties for habi-
important piece of labour legislation,
tual non-compliance of the Act should
it is necessary that the Chief Inspec-
tor of Factories should not be sub-
be heavier.

ADMINISTRATION OF THE FACTORIES ACT IN MAHARASHTRA
217
(10) In order to reduce the number of
ployees by the Officers of the Inspec-
industrial accidents, the following
torate by training worker representa-
measures should receive further atten-
tives in industrial safety, giving talks
tion of the Factory Inspectorate: (a)
at training courses, seminars etc. (d)
rigorous enforcement of the safety
actively assisting the management in
provisions of the Act (b) advising the
forming bi-partite safety committees
management as to the necessity of
and safety penals in factories where
replacing out dated and worn-out
hazardous operations are involved
machinery with new ones and their
(e) Examination of lighting installa-
proper maintenance (c) creation of
tions at the coneplaces during their
safety consciousness among the em-
inspections.
REFERENCES
Sonarikar S. Sunanda
Implementation of Labour Enactments, Bombay: Popular
1976
Prakashan.
Government of India
Report of the National Commission on Labour.
Ministry of Labour,
Employment and
Rehabilitation 1969.