High death rate of workers in factories: NHRC issues notice

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issued a notice to the Centre, States and Union Territories over the reported high death rate of workers in accidents in the registered factories and the measures taken for ensuring the protection of their human rights. “The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of a newspaper article that according to the Ministry of Labour and Employment’s Directorate General Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) data, three people died and 11 were injured each day on an average between 2017 and 2022, due to accident in the registered factories of the country,” said the NHRC. Reportedly, as many as 3331 deaths were recorded between 2018 and 2020 .

The data collected by DGFASLI from Chief Inspectors of Factories and Directors of Industrial Safety and Health represents that only registered factories have provided the data, whereas, 90 per cent of workers in India are employed in the informal sector. Even after two years of passing the new occupational safety and health code, it is yet to be implemented, the statement mentioned.

The Commission stated that considering 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.

The Commission issued notices to all the Chief Secretaries / Principal Secretaries, the Department of Labour of all the States and Union Territories to provide detailed reports with respect to the death/incapacity of workers/ 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 occupier/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.

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