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NHRC notices to Centre, States over high death rate of workers in factories

New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of a newspaper article that according to the Ministry of Labour & Employment’s Directorate General Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) data revealing that three people died and 11 were injured daily on an average between 2017 and 2022, due to accident in the registered factories of the country.

The Commission said that the gravity of the matter as highlighted in the newspaper article raises serious concerns about the human rights of the workers in various business enterprises including factories. Human rights risk can be mitigated at the stage of structuring contracts or other agreements between employers and employees within the purview of law giving due importance to the concept of Business and Human Rights.

Accordingly, the Commission has issued notices to all the Chief Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, Department of Labour of all the states and Union Territories to provide detailed reports with respect to the death, incapacity of workers and employees due to accidents in the factories in their jurisdictions and the compensation paid to the injured, next of kin of the deceased, prosecution initiated against the factory owners and the number of safety officers employed as per Section 40B of the Factories Act, 1948.

“The reports must contain year-wise reports of the Chief Inspector of Factories taking measures against defaulting factory owners including prosecution for the period from 2017 to 2022 in a tabulated form. Measures taken by the states for effective implementation of the various provisions of the Factories Act, 1948, must also be part of the reportsa, said NHRC.

A notice has also been issued to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Labour & Employment to submit an action taken report with regard to the implementation of the occupational Safety Health and Working Conditions Code and the measures taken or to be taken for improving the human rights conditions in respect of the factory workers across the country.

Reportedly, as many as 3331 deaths were recorded between 2018 and 2020 but only 14 people were imprisoned for offences under the Factories Act, 1948. The NHRC has sought the response within six weeks.