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Duties of a Safety Officer under the Factories Act

calendar13 Mar, 2023
timeReading Time: 6 Minutes
Duties of a Safety Officer under the Factories Act

The Factories Act was enacted in 1948 with a view to protecting the welfare of factory workers by regulating working conditions, employment conditions, working environment and other welfare conditions for specific industries. The Factories Act is a social legislation that covers the overall safety, health and welfare of factory workers. It lays out safety measures and guidelines for using machinery along with various strict compliance that is to be followed by owners. One of the most vital aspects of the Factories Act of 1948[1] is to ensure the safety of workers. To put into effect one of the primary aims of the statute, it contains a provision with respect to the appointment of a safety officer with factories with manufacturing operations or processes that involve risk of poisoning, bodily injury, disease or any other hazard to the health of the workers of the factory. It also provides for the duties of the said officer.

Section 40B of the Factories Act of 1948 makes it imperative for factory owners to appoint safety officers in every factory where:

  1. There are 1000 or more workers employed in the factory or
  2. Where in the state government’s opinion, any of the operations or manufacturing processes that are carried out in a factory involves the sort and risk of health hazards, bodily injury, poisoning or disease to the workers in the factory.

Read our Article:Complete Checklist For Factory License Registration In India

Duties of a Safety Officer

The below-mentioned shall be the duties of a safety officer duly appointed under the Factories Act of 1948 in accordance with Section 40-B and Section 112.

  • Advice and assist factory management

One of the most critical duties of a safety officer in a factory shall be to advise and assist the management of the factory and fulfilling the obligations placed upon them to maintain a safe environment for the workers of the factory and to prevent any bodily injuries or other health hazards as prescribed under the statute.

  • Providing Guidance regarding safety measures to departments of the factory

Safety measures can vary for every department in a factory depending upon the nature of work that is carried out by departments of the factory. Hence, it is vital for the safety officer to curate department-specific safety measures and guide the different departments accordingly about the many safety measures that are required to protect the health of the factory workers, along with preventing any bodily injury or harm to the factory workers.

  • Advice on the aspect of safety in job studies

The safety officer shall be required to advise on the job studies and also conduct safety studies for selected jobs. Job study refers to analysing the responsibilities and roles that are needed to be carried out by a particular person that is chosen for a job. For example, if a manager is being hired in a factory, it shall be the duty of the safety officer to conduct a comprehensive study of all the safety measures that are required to be followed to ensure the safety of the manager by taking into consideration the daily roles and responsibilities that will be taken up by the manager.

  • Ensuring the use of only quality equipment

The safety officer shall also ensure that the protective equipment used in the factory is of optimum quality and advice the purchasing department of the factory regarding maintaining standards of quality and safety in order to avoid any mishaps or accidents even after using the protective gear.

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the factory’s action plan

The safety officer shall look into the action plan of the factory and evaluate its effectiveness as to how well the plan has been executed or is proposed to be executed by the factory’s management. This is an essential task as the evaluation by the safety officer shall decide whether the factory is following the safety standards for workers that are expected under the Factories Act and suggest measures if there is any shortcoming in the safety measures put in place in the factory.

  • Advise on plant safety.

The safety officer is also required to advise the concerned authority with respect to the matters related to the safety of the plant with a view to avoiding any mismanagement regarding the equipment and machinery within the factory. The safety officer is required to ensure that optimum standards of safety are followed, and the practices and processes while handling the machinery and equipment must be in a manner that does not endanger the lights or has risks of bodily injury or diseases associated with it.

  • Advising on reporting an investigation of industrial diseases and accidents

The safety officer is required to provide expert advice on aspects related to the reporting and investigation of industrial diseases and accidents that have proven to be fatal within the factory. This shall be done with the view to enable a successful and effective reporting and investigation process.

  • Inspecting the plant in the factory to ensure safety

The safety officer shall be required to deal with inspecting the plant to ensure that the working conditions environment of the plant is safe for the workers and that the processes and operations followed by the workers while working in the factory are not a dangerous or hazardous risk to their safety and health. This shall also include providing necessary advice on requisite safety measures that all the workers are required to adopt in order to prevent any personal injuries or accidents,

  • Investigating accidents in the factory

The Safety officer shall be required to investigate the recent fatal accidents that took place and understand and analyse the core reasons behind the same. The safety officer shall suggest measures to the management to make sure that specific steps are taken to avoid similar accidents and to ensure that in cases of accidents, the workers receive proper treatment in a manner that aids in the speedy recovery of the workers who have been injured.

  • Investigating incidents of industrial diseases

The safety officer is expected to investigate industrial diseases that have been contracted by workers along with the dangerous occurrences that have taken place in the factory. The safety officer is required to take action to avoid the reputation all the spread of industrial diseases or the occurrence of dangerous incidents.

  • Spreading awareness about safety measures

The safety officer is required to take various initiatives to spread awareness about maintaining safety during work during multiple manufacturing processes and operations of the factory. This can quickly be done by conducting campaigns or contests or competitions, or activities that can help garner the attention and interests of all the workers of the factory and encourage them to adopt safety measures put in place.

  • Acting as an advisor on the safety committee

The safety committee of the factory is set up by the occupier of the factory. The safety committee consists of equal representatives from the management and among the workers. The safety officer is required to act as the advisor of the safety committee and manage the operation of this committee.

  • Organising training programs for the factory workers

The safety officer is required to conduct training programmes either independently or in collaboration with the occupier of the factory with various departments to import training to prevent injuries or accidents in the factory, along with conducting at least one safety seminar a year

  • Assisting in the maintenance of records

The safety officer shall assist in the maintenance of records with respect to industrial diseases, accidents and many other dangerous occurrences. This shall help safety officers determine any common patterns in the accidents, illnesses or injuries and take advocate actions to prevent the event of the same in the future.

  • Preparing annual records the industrial accidents and diseases

The safety officer shall prepare an annual report which shall contain information regarding accidents and injuries that happened to the factory workers while working at the factory. It should also include remedial measures that were taken regarding these accidents and injuries. This annual report shall be presented before the board of directors at the annual meeting.

Conclusion

The Factories Act was enacted with the sole aim of creating better and safe working conditions and environment for the workers in a factory and ensuring that the welfare and safety measures put in place to safeguard the physical and mental well-being of the workers are consistently followed. Among other welfare measures regarding workers, the safety of the workers while working in the factory is of the most importance, and the statute aims to reduce the number of industrial accidents, deaths, diseases, and there are other health hazards that are faced by factory workers. The provisions with respect to the appointment of safety officers and their duties arrested the direction to ensure the safety of factory workers. A safety officer is required to be employed mandatorily in a factory with 1000 or more workers or if the state government believes that a factory isn’t a requirement for a safety officer due to the dangerous nature of the manufacturing processes and operations of the factory. The duty of the safety officer extends from ensuring the practice of safety measures in the factory to conducting seminars related to safety or to inspect the machinery or industrial accidents and deaths, among other things. Flouting the mandate of appointing a safety officer in factories that are required to appoint one can lead to penalties.

Read our Article:Factory License Certificate: Requirements And Process

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