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Occupational Safety and Health
|Occupational Safety and Health|
The working conditions and the nature of employment, directly or indirectly tend to affect the health of a workman. The concept of occupational health has been derived from the work-related ailments and all the factors that affect community health within it. Occupational health broadly refers to any injury, impairment or disease affecting a worker or employee during his course of employment. Seventy-five percent of the global workforce lives in the third world countries. More than 125 million workers are victims of occupational accidents and diseases every year. Particular attention needs to be paid to the health and safety of workers in ‘hazardous occupations’ and especially the migrant workers and other vulnerable persons.
A safe and healthy work environment is the basic right of every worker. In India the health and safety record of workers is very poor. Various legislations exist to protect workers rights and health but they are not implemented effectively and very few workers enjoy the benefits. Only 8.8 percent of the total workforce is organised. The workforce is abundant, low skilled and easily available and the high rate of unemployment makes them susceptible to exploitation.
Article 24 of the Constitution of India provides that no child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in other hazardous employment. Further Article 39 (e & f) provides that the state shall in particular, direct its policy towards securing that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age and strength; and that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment. Article 42 enjoins that the state shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.
The principal health and safety laws in India are based on the British Factories Act. The legislations framed for workers’ welfare are as follows:
There are two main laws for compensating occupational diseases and accidents:
- The Factories Act 1948, amended 1954, 1970, 1976, 1987
- The Mines Act, 1952
- The Dock workers (safety, health and welfare) Act, 1986
- The Plantation Labour Act, 1951
- The Explosives Act, 1884
- The Petroleum Act, 1934
- The Insecticide Act, 1968
- The Indian Boilers Act, 1923
- The Indian Electricity Act, 1910
- The Dangerous Machines (Regulations) Act, 1983
- The Indian Atomic Energy Act, 1962
- The Radiological Protection Rules, 1971
- The Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989
- Workman’s Compensation Act, 1923
- Employees State Insurance Act, 1948