Factories Act: An Overview

The Factories Act of 1948 was used to help India develop national rules about workplace safety and health in factories and docks. It addresses a variety of issues relating to people's wellbeing, health, productivity, and safety at work. The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 took its place.

The Act is managed by the state government’s factory inspectorates and the Directorate General Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) of the Indian Ministry of Labour and Employment. DGFASLI provides guidance to the Central and State Governments on enforcing the Factories Act and organizing factory inspection services across the States.

The Act is applicable to any factory using power and employing 10 or more workers, or if not using power, employing 20 or more workers on any day during the previous 12 months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried out using power, or is ordinarily carried out in this manner, or where twenty or more workers are working, or were working, on any day during the previous 12 months.

What Exactly the Factories Act, 1948 Defines?

The Factories Act of 1948, which governs employment terms, working conditions, the working environment, and other welfare standards for particular industries, was passed to safeguard the wellbeing of workers in a factory. In Ravi Shankar Sharma v. State of Rajasthan (AIR 1993 Raj 117, 1993 CriLJ 1458, (1993) IILLJ 1124 Raj) the Supreme Court held that the Factory Act is social legislation that addresses the health, safety, welfare, and other issues pertaining to factory workers. The Factories Act specifies rules and security precautions for working with machinery, and with its strict adherence, it also gives owners instructions. The Factories Act was enacted in response to low wage practices that exploited and abused industrial employees.

Object of the Act

The Act's aim is to safeguard people from being subjected to too lengthy periods of physical exertion or manual labor. It also aims to stipulate that, to the extent that the production process permits, personnel should work in hygienic circumstances, and that measures should be made to ensure their safety and prevent accidents.

Scope and Applicability of the Act

The Act extends to whole of India. It covers all factories, including those owned by the Central Government and all state governments, unless otherwise stated. People who work in the plant and fall under the definition of "worker" as stated in the Act are eligible to receive the benefits of this Act. Therefore, it would be appropriate to debate the definitions of "factory" and "worker" in this context. Knowing what the Act means by "manufacturing process" would be beneficial because the term "factory" relates to the manufacturing process.

Provisions under the Act

The Act consists of 120 sections and 3 schedules.

Section 1 – Section 7Chapter IPreliminary
Section 7A - Section 10Chapter IIThe Inspecting Staff
Section 11 – Section 20Chapter IIIHealth
Section 21 – Section 41Chapter IVSafety
Section 41A – Section 41HChapter IV AProvisions Relating to Hazardous Processes
Section 42 – Section 50Chapter VWelfare
Section 51 – Section 66Chapter VIWorking Hours of Adults
Section 67 – Section 77Chapter VIIEmployment of Young Persons
Section 78 – Section 85Chapter VIIIAnnual Leave with Wages
Section 86 – Section 91AChapter IXSpecial Provisions
Section 92 – Section 106AChapter XPenalties and Procedure
Section 107 – Section 120Chapter XISupplemental

Besides, it has the following schedules:

Important Connotation under the Act


It is important to keep the factory clean. Disposal plans for waste and wastewater must be in place. The sufficient amount of ventilation is required. An environment that is comfortable for workers should be available. Reduced levels of dust and fumes should be maintained. Avoid overcrowding and keep artificial humidifiers at the usual level recommended. Ample lighting, water, restrooms, urinals, and spittoons should be made available to employees.


A sufficient amount of space for sitting, washing, and storing items that aren't being worn during working hours. A seating area should be available for those who must work while standing so they may take brief breaks. The personnel should have access to proper first aid kits, which should be kept up to date.

Facilities: Large Factories

The following facilities are required to be provided by large factories:

  • If there are 500 or more employees, there will be an ambulance room; if there are 250 or more, there will be a canteen.

  • It should be positioned appropriately, have adequate lighting and ventilation, and be both.

  • A full-time welfare officer should be appointed if a factory employs 500 or more workers.

  • Restrooms or shelters with drinking water when there are 150 or more workers employed.

  • A safety officer should be appointed when there are 1,000 or more workers employed.


The following are measures of safety:

  • A suitable fence should surround every piece of equipment to safeguard employees when it is in use.

  • Hoists and lifts have to be in excellent working order and should undergo routine testing.

  • Pressure plants need to be inspected in accordance with the law.

  • The floor, stairs, and methods of access should be well-built and devoid of obstacles.

  • It is important to have eye, gas, and fume protection equipment available.

  • Additional safety precautions have been established in the case of dangerous chemicals.

  • There should be adequate firefighting supplies on hand.

  • If there are 1,000 or more employees working in the factory, a safety officer should be established.

Working Hours

A worker can only be hired for a maximum of 48 hours per week. Weekly off-days are required. If someone is required to work on a weekly holiday, he should be given a full day off on one of the following three days: either the day before or the day after the regular holiday. He is only permitted to work for a maximum of nine hours every day. After five hours, at least 30 minutes should be set up for relaxation. A maximum of 10.5 hours can be worked in total, including the rest break. A weekly holiday should be provided to employees. It is not permissible for shifts to overlap.

Overtime Wages

The rate of compensation for overtime is twofold if a worker works more than 9 hours per day or 48 hours per week. Two factories cannot have the same employee. The practice of dual employment is prohibited. However, when a worker is on tour, overtime compensation is not due. A week's worth of labor, including overtime, shouldn't be more than 60 hours, and a quarter's worth of overtime shouldn't be more than 50 hours. Maintaining an overtime register is a good idea. An employee who works outside the factory, such as a field worker or someone on a tour away from the corporate office, is not eligible to overtime pay.

Employment of Women

A woman employee is only permitted to work from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Any factory or collection of factories may receive an exemption from the state government, but no woman may be allowed to work between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

  • Night Shift for Women: The Factories Act has been suggested to be changed to let women to work at night. In order to permit the employment of women employees between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., the government has decided to alter Section 66 of the Factories Act, 1948. The government made the decision to amend the Act in accordance with the request of women's groups and the present economic globalization. Each and every production facility, including those in the garment industry, would have access to this flexibility. This choice was made following discussions with union and employer representatives. By providing the required flexibility for the employment of women during night shifts in factories, the proposed measure will provide state governments more control. The proposed amendment would, among other things, mandate that the employer guarantee workplace security and proper protection for female employees. However, only after speaking with concerned businesses or their representatives and employees or their representative groups, the state government or any person authorized by it would permit the employment of women throughout the night. Additionally, state governments have the authority to create their own regulations for granting such approvals.

  • Workmen Record: It is necessary to keep a register of every employee. No employee ought to be allowed to start working unless his name is in the register. Additionally, a record of overtime must be kept.


Every calendar year, a worker is entitled to paid annual leave at the rate of one day for every 20 days of work performed in the previous calendar year, provided he worked for 240 days or more in the previous calendar year. A child worker is entitled to one day for every 15 days. While calculating 240 days, earned leave, maternity leave up to 12 weeks and layoff days will be considered, but leave shall not be earned on those days.

Overtime Wages and Leave Salary

Disability allowance and the monetary equivalent of any benefit are included in the wages for leave encashment and overtime. It will not, however, include overtime or bonuses.

Hazardous Processes and Substances

It is important to provide information on dangerous materials or procedures. Information concerning risks and health concerns should be provided to nearby workers and the general public. There should be prepared safety precautions and an emergency plan. It is advisable to form a safety committee.

Child Employment under the Act

A child under the age of 14 should not be hired, and a child beyond the age of 14 but under the age of 15 may only work 4.5 hours each day or at night. A certifying surgeon needs to certify his fitness. He is not allowed to work from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. "Adolescent" refers to a person who is above 15 but under 18 years old. If he receives a certificate of fitness for a full day's work from a certifying surgeon, he can be hired as an adult. Teens are not allowed to work between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. The employment of teenage girls is subject to tighter limitations. It is important to keep track on child employees.


In India, the Factories Act of 1948 is applied with appropriate amendments. The Act outlines the time that employees work, their working hours, paid time off, paid overtime, their age restriction, etc. Additionally, it details how the environment, human health, and safety are protected at the factory.


Q1. Who introduced the Factories Act, 1948?

Ans. The Labour administration of Clement Attlee in the United Kingdom approved the Factories Act in 1948 for the protection the workers' health.

Q2. When was the Indian Factory Act passed?

Ans. The Indian Factory Act came into force on April 1st, 1949.

Q3. How many times Factories Act amended?

Ans. The Act was amended in 1949, 1950, 1951, 1954, 1970, and 1976. The Factories Act, 1948, was last modified in 1987, when a new chapter pertaining to hazardous processes was added.

Q4. What is the maximum limit of overtime under the Act?

Ans. The maximum limit of overtime under the act is the total number of hours of overtime that shall not exceed fifty for any one quarter.

Updated on: 27-Jan-2023

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