The first and foremost Factories Act in India was passed in the year 1881. The Act was principally designed for the protection of children and provides for some health and safety measures. The Factories Act, 1881 was followed by new Factories Act in 1891, 1911, 1922 and 1934. To implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Labour in India and the Convention of the International Labour organization, the Factories Act of 1934 was passed.
When the operation of this act was experienced, the effective administration was hampered by numeral shortcomings and flaws which include inadequate and unsatisfactory safety, health and welfare measures for the workers. Consequently, a need was felt for a new and revised legislation regulating the factories in India. As a result the factories Act, 1948 was passed which came into force w.e.f. 1 April 1949.
The Factories Act, 1948 is a piece of legislation covering all aspects regarding factories namely: approval, licensing and registration of factories, the inspecting authorities, health, safety, welfare, working conditions, working hours, employment of workers- adults and young children, annual leave and penalties, etc.
Features of and Applicability of Factories Act
The Act extends to whole of India including the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It had been extended to the Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Pondicherry, Goa, Daman and Diu and it has also been extended to the State of Jammu and Kashmir in the year 1970.
The provisions of this Act are applicable to all factories including factories belonging to Central or any Government unless otherwise excluded.
Objectives of Factories Act
- To consolidate and amend the law regulating the workers working in the factories.
- To protect workers employed in factories against industrial and occupational hazards.
- To secure for the workers employment conditions conducive to their health and safety.
- To safeguard the interest of workers and protect them from exploitation, the act prescribes certain standards with regard to safety, welfare and working hours of workers, apart from other provisions.