The Occupational Safety Health And Working Conditions Code 2020 | UPSC
The Occupational Safety Health And Working Conditions Code 2020 : Cap on weekly working time retained, spread-over time hiked to 12 hours in draft rules
WHY IN NEWS:
Experts said the extension in the spread-over time will have adverse consequences on the workers.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Bills : Governance : Labour laws
For PRELIMS it is important to go through basic definitions . Look into facts and do not try to memorise them . Facts usually are twisted and concepts remain the crux of Prelims exams.
For MAINS it is important to understand the lacunae of this bill and address it with respect to migrant workers returning back to cities.
THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY HEALTH AND WORKING CONDITIONS CODE 2020
- The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 (“OSH Code“) received the President’s assent on September 28, 2020.
The OSH Code has subsumed several key pieces of legislation on the working conditions of labour
- The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970,
- The Factories Act, 1948, etc.
KEY DEFINITIONS UNDER THE OSH CODE
- This can be with or without the knowledge of the principal employer.
- The definition excludes any worker (other than a part-time employee) who is regularly employed by the contractor for any activity of his establishment.
- Such worker’s employment is governed by mutually accepted standards of conditions of employment and gets periodical increment in pay and other welfare benefits.
- The definition of employee has been made consistent in all the new codes, as well as the Code on Wages, 2019.
- The OSH Code defines “employer” to be a person who employs, whether directly or through any person.
- This includes, the person/authority which has the ultimate control over the affairs of the establishment and contractor.
An “establishment” is
(i) any place with ten (10) or more workers where any industry, trade, business, manufacturing or occupation is carried on; or
(ii) a motor transport undertaking, newspaper establishment, audio-video production, building and other construction work or plantation with ten (10) or more workers; or
(iii) factory in which ten (10) or more workers are employed; or
(iv) a mine or port or vicinity of port where dock work is carried out.
- The OSH Code defines a “hazardous process” as any process or activity in relation to specific industries (set forth in Schedule I of the OSH Code).
Such places , unless special care is taken, raw/intermediate/finished/bye-products, etc., as the case may be, would:
For the purposes of the OSH Code, a “principal employer” is
(i) any person responsible for the supervision and control of the establishment where contract labour is employed or engaged; or
(ii) the owner or the occupier of the factory and where a person has been named as the manager of the factory, the person so named.
- “Wages“, as per the OSH Code, comprises all remuneration such as salaries, allowances or otherwise, expressed in terms of money.
- Alternatively, capable of being so expressed which would be payable to a person in respect of his employment, whether express or implied, or
WAGES DO NOT INCLUDE
(b) value of accommodation or light, water, medical attendance
(c) employer contribution towards any pension or provident fund
(d) conveyance allowance
(e) sum paid to employed person to defray special expenses
(f) house rent allowance
(g) overtime allowance and
(h) gratuity, etc.
- The definition of “workers” under the OSH Code, while similar to the definition of “workmen” under the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act. 1971.
DUTIES OF THE EMPLOYER
Under the OSH Code, every employer is required to undertake the following:
- Ensure that the workplace is free from hazards which cause or are likely to cause injury or occupational disease to the employees and comply with the OSH Code and the Government’s directions on the same
- Provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of the employees
- Issue letters of appointments to employees
- Ensure that no charge is levied on any employee for maintenance of safety and health at workplace including conduct of medical examination.
RIGHTS OF EMPLOYEE
Every employee has the following rights under the OSH Code:
- To obtain from the employer, information relating to employee’s health and safety at work .
- If he has reasonable apprehension that there is a likelihood of imminent serious personal injury or death or imminent danger to health.
- He may bring the same to the notice of his employer directly and simultaneously bring the same to the notice of the inspector-cum-facilitator.
- Send a report forthwith of the action taken to the inspector-cum-facilitator in such manner as may be prescribed by the Government.
- If the employer is not satisfied about the existence of any imminent danger as apprehended by his/he employees, he shall, nevertheless, refer inspector.
- The matter forthwith to the inspector-cum-facilitator whose decision on the question of the existence of such imminent danger shall be final.
HEALTH, SAFETY AND WORKING CONDITIONS
The employer is required to provide and maintain welfare activities for employees as may be prescribed by the Central Government including
(i) adequate and suitable facilities for washing to male and female employees separately;
(ii) bathing places and locker rooms for male, female and transgender employees separately;
(iii) sitting arrangements for all employees obliged to work in a standing position;
(iv) adequate first-aid boxes or cupboards with contents readily accessible during all working hours; and
(v) any other welfare measures which the Central Government considers, under the set of circumstances, as required for decent standard of life of the employees.
Furthermore, the Central Government is entitled to prescribe for provision of, inter alia,
(i) cleanliness and hygiene
(ii) ventilation, temperature and humidity
(iii) adequate standard of humidification
(iv) potable drinking water
(v) adequate lighting
(vi) adequate standards to prevent overcrowding, etc.
EMPLOYMENT OF CONTRACT LABOUR AND INTER-STATE MIGRANT WORKERS
- The OSH Code has modified the number of minimum contract labour to fifty (50) from twenty (20) for the OSH Code to apply.
- It has further been clarified that no contractor is permitted to engage any contract labour if it does not procure a license under and in accordance with the OSH Code.
- The enactment of the OSH Code comes at a crucial juncture wherein the rights of the workers have been debated heatedly on every fora and their plight has captured the spotlight during the pandemic.
SOURCES: IE | The Occupational Safety Health And Working Conditions Code 2020 | UPSC