The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 (OSHWC) was Introduced in Lok Sabha on July 23rd 2019. Later, on September 22nd 2020, it was passed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, after which, the bill was published in an e-gazette.
It also concentrates on the health, safety and welfare of the workers in various sectors like industry, trade, business, manufacturing, factory, motor transport undertaking, building and other construction work, newspaper establishments, audio-video production, plantation, mine & dock-work and service sectors and is particularly relevant for factories having 20 or more workers.
The Code doesn't apply to offices of the central government, state government, any ship of war or any nationality but at the same instance, it applies to contract labour employed through a contractor in the offices where the central government or state government are principal employers.
The code also has an occupational safety board to advise rules and regulations under the following code. Standards are to be followed concerning the health and safety of the workers, and a list of diseases for which contact shall be made with concerned authorities.
Establishments covered by the Code are required to register within 60 days (of the commencement of the Code) electronically to the registering officers, appointed by the central or state government. Further, some establishments such as factories and mines, and those hiring workers such as beedi and cigarette workers, may be required to obtain other licenses to operate.
Further, these provisions have been made for the employment of female employees working beyond 7 pm till 6 am with their consent and conditions relating to safety, holiday, and working hours. Workers cannot be required to work for more than 6 days/week and will be entitled to one day off for every 20 days of work & one day off every week.
Considering the COVID-19 situation in India, the Central Government has reserved the power necessary to make regulations for the safety and health of workers in the event of a declaration of a pandemic or disaster. The Code has also ensured that the registration process is initiated electronically.
The goal of this code is to bring major reform in terms of health and safety and the welfare of workers employed. The Code also aims to empower both employees and employers by allowing flexibility in hiring and retrenchment while expanding the social security net.
Furthermore, clarifications and procedures will be established by rules and regulations made under this Code by central and state governments.