Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code, 2020 - FAQs

Purpose & Subsumed Laws - OSHWC

What is the purpose of enacting this Code?

This Code consolidates and amend the laws regulating the occupational safety, health and working conditions of the persons employed in an establishment, connected and incidental matters relating to it.

Which are the Laws that are subsumed by this Code?

This Code subsumes 13 Laws and its relating Rules, viz.

  • The Factories Act, 1948,
  • The Model Factories Rules,
  • The Mines Act, 1952,
  • The Mines Rules, 1955,
  • The Mines Rescue Rules, 1985,
  • The Mines Vocational Training Rules, 1966,
  • The Pithead Bath Rules, 1959,
  • The Mines Crèche Rules,1966,
  • The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986,
  • The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Rules, 1990,
  • The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996,
  • The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Services) Rules, 1998,
  • The Plantations Labour Act, 1951,
  • The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970,
  • The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Central Rules, 1971,
  • The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979,
  • The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Central Rules,1979,
  • The Working Journalist and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service and Miscellaneous Provision) Act, 1955,
  • The Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Rules, 1957,
  • The Working Journalist (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act, 1958,
  • The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961,
  • The Sales Promotion Employees (Condition of Service) Act, 1976,
  • The Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1976,
  • The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966,
  • The Cine Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers Act, 1981,
  • The Cine-Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) Rules, 1984.

Employer to notify certain incidents - OSHWC

Under what circumstances an employer is mandated to serve notice to the appropriate Government under this Code?

Notice of certain accident: Where at any place in an establishment, an accident occurs which causes death, or which causes any bodily injury by reason of which the person injured is prevented from working for a period of forty-eight hours or more immediately following the accident or which is of such nature as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government, then,— (a) employer or owner or agent or manager referred to in section 67 of such establishment if it is mine; or (b) employer or manager in relation to such establishment if it is factory or relates to dock work; or (c) the employer of a plantation or an establishment relating to building or other construction or any other establishment, shall send notice thereof to such authorities, in such manner and within such time, as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government. (2) Where such a notice is given relates to an accident-causing death in a plantation or an establishment relating to building or other construction work or any other establishment, the authority to whom the notice is sent shall make an inquiry into the occurrence within two months of the receipt of the notice or if there is no such authority, the Chief Inspector-cum-Facilitator shall cause the Inspector-cum-Facilitator to make an inquiry within the said period.

Notice of certain dangerous occurrences: Where in an establishment there is any dangerous occurrence of such nature, (whether causing any bodily injury or disability, or not) the employer shall send notice thereof to such authorities, and in such form and within such time, as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.

Notice of certain diseases: Where any worker in an establishment contracts any disease specified in the Third Schedule, the employer of the establishment shall send notice thereof to such authorities, and in such form and within such time, as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.  If any qualified medical practitioner attends on a person, who is or has been employed in an establishment, and who is, or is believed by the qualified medical practitioner, to be suffering from any disease specified in the Third Schedule, the medical practitioner shall without delay send a report in writing to the office of the Chief Inspector-cum-Facilitator in such form and manner and within such time as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government. If any qualified medical practitioner fails to comply, he shall be punishable with penalty which may extend to ten thousand rupees.

Health, Safety, Working Conditions & Welfare Facilities - OSHWC

What are the responsibilities of employer for maintaining health, safety and working conditions?

The employer shall be responsible to maintain in his establishment such health, safety and working conditions for the employees as may be prescribed by the Central Government namely,

  • cleanliness and hygiene;
  • ventilation, temperature and humidity;
  • environment free from dust, noxious gas, fumes and other impurities;
  • adequate standard of humidification, artificially increasing the humidity of the air, ventilation and cooling of the air in work rooms;
  • potable drinking water;
  • adequate standards to prevent overcrowding and to provide sufficient space to employees or other persons, as the case may be, employed therein;
  • adequate lighting;
  • sufficient arrangement for latrine and urinal accommodation to male, female and transgender employee separately and maintaining hygiene therein;
  • effective arrangements for treatment of wastes and effluents; and
  • any other arrangement which the Central Government considers appropriate.

What are the welfare facilities to be provided by the employer in the establishment?

The employer shall be responsible to provide and maintain in his establishment such welfare facilities for the employees as may be prescribed by the Central Government, including:

  • adequate and suitable facilities for washing to male and female employees separately;
  • bathing places and locker rooms for male, female and transgender employees separately;
  • place of keeping clothing not worn during working hours and for the drying of wet clothing;
  • sitting arrangements for all employees obliged to work in a standing position;
  • facilities of canteen in an establishment for employees thereof, wherein one hundred or more workers including contract labourers are ordinarily employed;
  • in case of mines, medical examination of the employees employed or to be employed in the mines, before their employment and at specific intervals;
  • adequate first-aid boxes or cupboards with contents readily accessible during all working hours; and
  • any other welfare measures which the Central Government considers, under the set of circumstances, as required for decent standard of life of the employees.

The Central Government may also prescribe for the following matters, namely:—

  • ambulance room in every factory, mine, building or other construction work wherein more than five hundred workers are ordinarily employed;
  • medical facilities at the operating centres and halting stations, uniforms, raincoats and other like amenities for protection from rain or cold for motor transport workers;
  • adequate, suitable and separate shelters or rest-rooms for male, female and transgender employees and lunch-room in every factory and mine wherein more than fifty workers are ordinarily employed and in motor transport undertaking wherein employee is required to halt at night;
  • the appointment of welfare officer in every factory, mine or plantation wherein two hundred and fifty or more workers are ordinarily employed and the qualification, conditions of service and duties of such welfare officer;
  • for providing by the employer temporary living accommodation, free of charges and within the work site or as near to it as may be possible, to all building workers employed by him and for causing removal or demolition of such temporary living accommodation and for returning by the employer the possession of any land obtained by him for such purpose from Municipal Board or any other local authority;
  • for payment by the principal employer the expenses incurred on providing the accommodation to the contractor, where the building or other construction work is done through the contractor;
  • any other matter which may be prescribed.

The Central Government may make rules to provide for the facility of creche having suitable room or rooms for the use of children under the age of six years of the employees at suitable location and distance either separately or along with common facilities in establishments wherein more than fifty workers are ordinarily employed: Provided that an establishment can avail common crèche facility of the Central Government, State Government, municipality or private entity or provided by non-Governmental organisation or by any other organisation or group of establishments may pool their resources for setting up of common crèche in the manner as they may agree for such purpose.

Work hours, overtime, shifts, leave - OSHWC

What are the provisions relating to the daily and weekly working hours, leave, etc.?

No worker shall be required or allowed to work, in any establishment or class of establishment for more than:

(a) eight hours in a day; and

(b) the period of work in each day as mentioned above shall be so fixed, as not to exceed such hours, with such intervals and spread overs, as may be notified by the appropriate Government:

Provided that subject to clause (a) in the case of mines, —

  • the persons employed below ground in a mine shall not be allowed to work for more than such hours as may be notified by the Central Government in any day.
  • no work shall be carried on below ground in any mine except by a system of shifts so arranged that the period of work for each shift is not spread over more than the daily maximum hours as notified under clause (i).
  • no person employed in a mine shall be allowed to be present in any part of a mine below ground except during the periods of work shown in respect of him in the register maintained under section 33(a):

Provided further that subject to clause (a) that the hours of work in case of motor transport worker shall include—

  • the time spent in work done during the running time of the transport vehicle; (ii) the time spent in subsidiary work; and
  • period of mere attendance at terminals of less than fifteen minutes.

The hours of work for working journalist shall, subject to a maximum of one hundred and forty-four hours of work during any period of four consecutive weeks and a period of not less than twenty-four consecutive hours of rest during any period of seven consecutive days, be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

A sales promotion employee or the working journalist, —

(i) in addition to such holidays, casual leave or other kinds of leave as may be prescribed by the Central Government, shall be granted, if requested for—

  • earned leave on full wages for not less than one-eleventh of the period spent on duty.
  • leave on medical certificate on one-half of the wages for not less than one-eighteenth of the period of service.

(ii) may accumulate earned leave up to such maximum limit as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

(iii) shall be entitled for the limit up to which the earned leave may be either encashed or availed of at a time by him and the reasons for which such limit may be exceeded shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

(iv) shall, —

  • when he voluntarily relinquishes his post or retires from service; or
  • when his services are terminated for any reason whatsoever (not being termination as punishment), be entitled to cash compensation, subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be prescribed by the Central Government (including conditions by way of specifying the maximum period for which such cash compensation shall be payable), in respect of the earned leave earned by him and not availed of.

(v) who dies while in service, his heirs shall be entitled to cash compensation for the earned leave earned by him and not availed of his heirs shall be paid the cash compensation in respect of any period of earned leave for which he or his heirs, is or are entitled to cash compensation under clause (iv) or clause (v), which shall be an amount equal to the wages due to him for such period.

The working hours of an adolescent worker shall be regulated in accordance with the provisions of the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.

What are the provisions relating to weekly and compensatory holidays?

No worker shall be allowed to work in an establishment for more than six days in any one week: Provided that in any motor transport undertaking, an employer may, in order to prevent any dislocation of a motor transport service, require a worker to work on any day of weekly holiday which is not a holiday so arranged that the worker does not work for more than ten days consecutively without a holiday for a whole day intervening.

The appropriate Government may, by notification, exempt such workers as it thinks fit from the provisions mentioned above, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed.

Where, as a result of the passing of an order or the making of a rule under the provisions of this Code exempting an establishment or the workers therein from the provisions mentioned above, a worker is deprived of any of the weekly holidays, the worker shall be allowed, within the month in which the holidays were due or within the two months immediately following that month, compensatory holidays of equal number to the holidays, so deprived.

Will there be extra wages for the overtime work?

There shall be paid wages at the rate of twice the rate of wages in respect of overtime work, where a worker works in an establishment or class of establishment for more than such hours of work in any day or in any week as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government and the period of overtime work shall be calculated on a daily basis or weekly basis, whichever is more favourable to such worker: Provided that a worker shall be required to work overtime by the employer subject to the consent of such worker for such work: Provided further that the appropriate Government may prescribe the total number of hours of overtime.

What are the provisions relating to Night Shifts?

Where a worker in an establishment works on a shift which extends beyond midnight, —

  • for the purposes of section 26, a weekly holiday for a whole day shall mean in his case a period of twenty-four consecutive hours beginning when his shift ends.
  • the following day for him shall be deemed to be the period of twenty-four hours beginning when such shift ends, and the hours he has worked after midnight shall be counted in the previous day.

Is there any prohibition of overlapping shifts?

The work shall not be carried on in any establishment by means of a system of shifts so arranged that more than one relay of workers is engaged in work of the same kind at the same time.

The appropriate Government or subject to the approval of the appropriate Government, the Chief Inspector-cum-Facilitator, may, by written order and for the reasons specified therein, exempt on such conditions as may be deemed expedient, any establishment or class of establishments or any department or section of an establishment or any category or description of workers therein from the abovementioned provision:

Provided that these provisions shall not apply to mines.

Is employer mandated to put up notice of periods of work?

Yes, there shall be displayed and correctly maintained in every establishment a notice of periods of work, showing clearly for every day the periods during which workers may be required to work in accordance with the provisions of this Code.

The form of notice as required above, the manner of display of such notice and the manner in which such notice shall be sent to the Inspector-cum-Facilitator shall be such as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.

Any proposed change in the system of work in any establishment which will necessitate a change in the notice referred above shall be intimated to the Inspector-cum-Facilitator before the change is made, and except with the previous sanction of the Inspector-cum-Facilitator, no such change shall be made until one week has elapsed since that last change.

What are the provisions relating to Annual leave with wages?

Every worker employed in an establishment shall be entitled for leave in a calendar year with wages subject to the following conditions, namely: —

(i) that he has worked one hundred and eighty days or more in such calendar year.

(ii) that he shall be entitled for one-day leave for every twenty days of his work, in the case of adolescent worker for fifteen days of his work, and in case of worker employed below ground mine, at the rate of one day for every fifteen days of his work, in such calendar year.

(iii) any period of layoff, maternity leave or annual leave availed by such worker in such calendar year shall be counted for calculating the period of one hundred and eighty days or more under clause (i), but he shall not earn leave for the period so counted.

(iv) any holidays falling between the leave availed by such worker (in a calendar year or prefixed or suffixed holiday) shall be excluded from the period of leave so availed.

(v) in case of such worker whose service commences otherwise than on the first day of January shall be entitled to leave with wages at the rate specified in clause (ii), if he has worked for one-fourth of the total number of days in the remainder of the calendar year.

(vi) in case such worker is discharged or dismissed from service or quits employment or is superannuated or dies while in service, during the course of the calendar year, such worker or his heir or nominee, shall be entitled to wages in lieu of the quantum of leave to which such worker was entitled immediately before his discharge, dismissal, quitting of employment, superannuation or death, calculated as specified in preceding clauses, even if such worker has not worked for the required period under this sub-section making such worker eligible to avail such leave, and such payment shall be made—

(a) where such worker is discharged or dismissed or quits employment before the expiry of the second working day from the date of such discharge, dismissal or quitting; and

(b) where such worker is superannuated or dies while in service, before the expiry of two months from the date of such superannuation or death.

(vii) if such worker does not in any one calendar year take the whole of the leave allowed to him under this sub-section and the rules made thereunder, then, any leave not taken by him shall be added to the leave to be allowed to him in the succeeding calendar year so that—

(a) the total number of days of leave that may be carried forward to a succeeding year shall not exceed thirty days: and

(b) such worker, who has applied for leave with wages but has not been given such leave in accordance with this sub-section and the rules made thereunder shall be entitled to carry forward the leave refused without any limit.

(viii) without prejudice to clause (vi) such worker shall be entitled on his demand for encashment of leave at the end of calendar year.

(ix) such worker shall be entitled, where his total number of leave exceeds thirty days under sub-clause (a) of clause (vii), to encash such exceeded leave.

The provisions above-mentioned shall not operate to the prejudice of any right to which a person employed in a mine may be entitled under any other law or under the terms of any award, agreement or contract of service: Provided that if such award, agreement or contract of service, provides for longer annual leave with wages than that provided above, the quantum of leave, which the person employed shall be entitled to, shall be in accordance with such award, agreement or contract of service but leave shall be regulated in accordance with aforesaid provisions with respect of matters not provided for in such award, agreement or contract of service: Provided further that where the Central Government is satisfied that the leave rules applicable to persons employed in any mine provide benefits which in its opinion are not less favourable than those provided above it may, by order in writing and subject to such conditions as may be specified therein exempt the mine from all or any of the aforesaid provisions.

Restriction on Double Employment - OSHWC

Is there any restriction on double employment in factory and mine?

No worker shall be required or allowed to work in a mine or factory if he has already been working in any other such similar establishment within the preceding twelve hours, save in such circumstances as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.

Special Provisions for Employment of Women - OSHWC

What are the special provisions relating to employment of women?

Women shall be entitled to be employed in all establishments for all types of work under this Code and they may also be employed, with their consent before 6 a.m. and beyond 7 p.m. subject to such conditions relating to safety, holidays and working hours or any other condition to be observed by the employer as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.

Where the appropriate Government considers that the employment of women is dangerous for their health and safety, in an establishment or class of establishments or in any particular hazardous or dangerous processes in such establishment or class of establishments, due to the operation carried out therein, such Government may in the prescribed manner, require the employer to provide adequate safeguards prior to the employment of women for such operation.

Prohibition of Contract Labour employment - OSHWC

What are the provisions relating to prohibition of employment of contract labour?

Employment of contract labour in core activities of any establishment is prohibited: Provided that the principal employer may engage contract labour through a contractor to any core activity, if—

  • the normal functioning of the establishment is such that the activity is ordinarily done through contractor; or
  • the activities are such that they do not require full time workers for the major portion of the working hours in a day or for longer periods, as the case may be.
  • any sudden increase of volume of work in the core activity which needs to be accomplished in a specified time.

The appropriate Government may, by notification, appoint a designated authority to advise that Government on the question whether any activity of an establishment is a core activity or otherwise.

If a question arises as to whether any activity of an establishment is a core activity or otherwise, the aggrieved party may make an application in such form and manner as may be prescribed, to the appropriate Government for decision.

The appropriate Government may refer any such question Suo motu or refer the application to the designated authority, which on the basis of relevant material in its possession, or after making such an enquiry as it deems fit, shall report to the appropriate Government, within such period and thereafter the appropriate Government shall decide the question within such period as may be prescribed.

Records and Registers - OSHWC

Which are the records and registers to be maintained by the employer?

An employer of an establishment shall—

(a) maintain register in prescribed form, electronically or otherwise, containing such particulars of workers as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government including,—

  • work performed by them;
  • number of hours of work constituting normal working hours in a day;
  • day of rest allowed in every period of seven days;
  • wage paid and receipts given therefor;
  • leave, leave wages, overtime work, attendance and dangerous occurrences; and
  • employment of adolescent.

(b) display notices at the work place of the workers in such manner and form as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government;

(c) issue wage slips to the workers, in electronic forms or otherwise; and

(d) file such return electronically or otherwise to the Inspector-cum-Facilitator in such manner and during such periods as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.

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