The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019 has replaced previous laws namely Factories Act, 1948, Mines Act, 1952, Dock Workers Act, 1986, Contract Labour Act, 1970 and Inter-State Migrant Workers Act, 1979. Now the main features of this new code are as follows:
Coverage, license and registration:
It specifies the applicability for establishments employing at least 10 workers, and to all mines and docks. It does not apply to apprentices.
Establishments are required to register within 60 days (of the commencement of the Code) with registering officers, appointed by the central or state government.
Rights and duties of employees:
It is the duty of employees to take care of their own health and safety and reporting unsafe work incidents to the Inspector.
Work hours & Leave:
Work hours for different classes of establishment and employees will be notified by the central or state government. In case of overtime work, the worker must be paid twice the rate of daily wages. Workers cannot be required to work for more than six days a week. Also, they must receive one day of leave for every 20 days of work per year.
Working conditions and welfare facilities:
It includes hygienic work environment, clean drinking water, and toilets. Welfare facilities namely canteens, first aid boxes, and crèches, may be provided.
Offences and Penalties:
An offence that leads to the death of an employee will be punishable with imprisonment of up to two years, or fine up to five lakh rupees, or both.
Certain workers not covered:
The Code covers establishments with 10 or more workers. It excludes establishments with less than 10 workers.