Why is it in the news ?

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019 was introduced by the Labour and Employment ministry.

What is the objective of the proposed code ?

It is a compilation of the legislations with a prime purpose of setting standards for working conditions, ensuring safety measures for workers.

Proposed Labour Codes

  • India had a plethora of labour laws often leading to conflicts, and disruptions in the economic activities. Keeping this in mind,
  • The second National Commission of labour was set up in 1999.
  • Among other recommendations it included simplification, and streamlining of existing Central labour laws.
  • It also proposed doing away with redundant laws, and Consolidation of laws of similar nature.
  • It proposed the following four codes to be developed.
    • Labour Code on Wages
    • Labour Code on Industrial Relations
    • Labour Code on Social Security & Welfare
    • Labour Code on Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions

What are the key provisions of the code ?

  1. Consolidation of Laws
    1. It seeks to repeal and replace 13 labour laws like Factories Act, 1948, the Mines Act, 1952, and the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, etc.
  2. Coverage
    1. It mandates a minimum headcount of 10 workers for this code to be applied.
    2. It undertakes within its purview all the mines and docks.
    3. It is not applicable to the workers who are in apprenticeship.
  3. Regulation
    1. It calls for mandatory registration of all establishments covered by the Code.
    2. It also provides vigilant inspections of establishments.
    3. Along with any hazard or accident will be thoroughly inquired.
  4. Board and Committees
    1. It provides for setting up of safety committees that comprise representatives from both ends i.e. Workers and Employers.
    2. It seeks to set up an Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board ,to make recommendations regarding rules and regulations, at both central and state levels.rules.
  5. Rights and responsibilities of the Employees
    1. Access to information related to occupational safety and health.
    2. Reporting of any lapses to the authorities.
    3. Compliance with the set standards of occupational safety.
  6. Responsibilities on part of Employers
    1. Ensure for a hazard free workplace.
    2. Free health checkups once in a year.
    3. Due Communication to authorities in the wake of any hazard, accident leading to death or injury.
  7. Compensation and penal provisions
    1. In case of death of an employee, a penal provision is mandated that includes imprisonment of up to two years, or a penal fine up to five lakh rupees, or both.
    2. Also, the Court of law may direct for compensation to the bereaved families  out of the penalties accrued.