The Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill 2019 (Download PDF)

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The Minister of Labour and Employment introduced The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019 in Lok Sabha. All establishments employing at least 10 workers along with mines and docks comes under this Code Bill Policy. For certain types of establishments and classes of employees, such as factories, mines, and building and construction workers special provisions are made.

Altogether 13 labour laws relating to safety, health and working conditions have been repealed and replaced by the new Code. These include the Factories Act, 1948, the Mines Act, 1952, and the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970.

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Features Overview

  • The registering authorities must ensure registration of all the establishments covered under code. Any inquiry into accidents, and conduct inspections of establishments is the responsibility of Inspector-cum-facilitators being appointed by the central and state governments. The government may require certain establishments to set up safety committees comprising representatives of employers and workers.

  • Establishment of Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Boards at the national and state level, respectively by the central and state governments. These Boards will be responsible for advising the central and state governments on the standards, rules, and regulations to be framed under the Code.

  • The duties covered under the code are providing a workplace that is free from hazards that may cause injury or diseases, providing free annual health examinations to employees, as prescribed. The employer must inform the relevant authorities in case of an accident at the workplace that leads to death or serious bodily injury of an employee.

  • Further duties of employees under the Code include taking care of their own health and safety, complying with the specified safety and health standards, and reporting unsafe situations to the inspector. Every employee has the right to obtain from the employer information related to safety and health standards.

  • The work hours should be as per the rules prescribed by the central or state government for different classes of establishment and employees. For overtime work, the worker must be paid twice the rate of daily wages. Female workers, with their consent, may work past 7pm and before 6am, if approved by the central or state government.

  • An employee should not be asked to more than six days a week except motor transport workers. The paid annual leave must be ensured to the workers for at least one in 20 days of the period spent on duty. The medical leave must be provided for at least one-eighteenth of the period of service in case of sales promotion employees. The worker must be paid half his daily wages during medical leave period.

  • A hygienic work environment with ventilation, comfortable temperature and humidity, sufficient space, clean drinking water, and latrine and urinal accommodations must be provided by the employer. Other welfare facilities such as separate bathing places and locker rooms for male, female and transgender employees, canteens, first aid boxes, and creches if provided must be maintained as per the standards prescribed by the central government.

  • An offence leading to the death of an employee is punishable with imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine up to five lakh rupees, or both. At least 50 % of such fine should be given as a compensation to the heirs of the victim. The employer will be penalised with a fine between two and three lakh rupees in case the penalty w. r. t to the offence has not been specified. In case of violating the provisions of the Code, an employee will be subjected to a fine of up to Rs. 10,000.

- Published/Last Modified on: September 11, 2019

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