FACTORY owners with expansion plans have a regulatory hurdle ahead. The government is all set to make it mandatory for them to get the state government’s permission before going in for physical expansion of existing businesses.
As per existing guidelines under the Factories Act, occupier of a factory is not required to take permission from the state government for expansion of a factory if it is within certain specified limits. The ministry of labour is bringing amendments in the Factories Act of 1948 to make it mandatory for the occupier to obtain the state government’s permission prior to any expansion plan, however small.
“It is possible that such expansion may involve hazards to the safety of workers as well as the people in vicinity of the factory. The ministry wants to amend Section six of the Factories Act in order to vet all expansion plans,” a government official said.
The amended Factories Act, which has been finalised by the labour ministry, would soon be sent to the Cabinet for formal approval.
The government is of the view that extension of space as well as replacement of plant and machinery should not reduce the minimum clear space required for safe working around the plant or machinery or pose a danger to workers or people around the space. The government, through the proposed amendments in the Factories Act, also wants to minimise adverse effects on environmental conditions from steam emissions , heat , dust and fumes which are also injurious to heath.
The New Factories Act also proposes to ban smoking within the premises of factories. At present, there are no rules on putting any curbs on smoking inside factories. “Smoking has now been recognised as a health hazard not only to the person smoking but also to others who are working nearby,” a labour ministry official said. Apart from saving environment from hazardous effects of effluents, the new Factories Act would disallow people below age of 18 years to work near any machinery in motion