By a notification dated December 4, 2019, the Government of Tripura ("Government") notified the Tripura Factories (Sixth Amendment) Rules, 2019, ("Amendment Rules"). The Amendment Rules provides for the provisioning of sanitary napkins and disposable bins in female toilets and personal protective equipment's ("PPEs") for the safety of the workers exposed to hazards in the factory. The key features of Amendment Rules are as follows:
- Provision of sanitary napkins in female toilets: The Amendment Rules provides that the occupier shall provide sanitary napkins in adequate quantity, conforming to Indian standards, in the female toilets for their use and the same be replenished on daily basis. Additionally, the Amendment Rules provide that disposable bins with lids shall be provided in female toilets for the collection of the used napkins and the said napkins shall be disposed off as per the procedure approved by the chief inspector, by order.
- Provision of protective equipment: The Amendment Rules provides that all workers shall be mandatorily provided with PPEs which shall conform to the relevant national standards and have to be maintained in proper working conditions by the occupier. Further, the occupiers shall instruct the workers to use such PPEs. The various types of PPEs required to be provided by the occupier to workers in the factory in accordance with the Amendment Rules are as follows:
- Safety helmet - All workers who are likely to be exposed to any hazard which may cause head injury shall be provided with safety helmets conforming to relevant national standards. All the workers shall be adequately trained on proper use of such PPEs. When work at height is being carried out such safety helmet shall be provided with a nape strap. No safety helmet which has resisted an impact shall be reused. Periodic cleaning and visual inspection to check any deformation in size or shape shall be carried out.
- Protective footwear - Protective footwear should be provided to workers who are exposed to hazards which are likely to cause injury to them by way of materials being dropped on their feet or nail or other sharp objects penetrating their sole. The type and nature of footwear to be used at workplaces shall be decided by the occupier based on nature of work being carried at such workplaces. Proper disinfection shall be carried out to prevent contagious fungal infection of the skin that causes scaling, flaking, and itching of the affected areas. Proper medical care shall be carried out to prevent workers from suffering from ingrown nails, metatarsalgia, heel spur, hammer toes and never damage after wearing safety shoe.
- Safety goggles and spectacles - The relevant national standard shall be applicable for eye-protection intended for use in industrial undertakings to provide protection for the eyes of the workers against hazards such as flying particles and fragments, splashing materials and molten metal's harmful dust, gases or vapours, aerosols and radiations which are likely to impair vision or damage the eyes. Additional eye protection over their prescription lenses shall be used ensuring that the protective eyewear does not disturb the proper positioning of the prescription lenses.
- Equipment for eye and face protection during welding - Relevant national standard shall be followed for the requirements of goggles, hand shield and helmet intended to protect an operator above the shoulder from harmful radiation, spark and particles of hot metal during welding, cutting and similar operations employing a gas flame or electric arc.
- Gloves and protective clothing - Suitable gloves, leather gauntlets and mittens conforming to the relevant national standard shall be used for protection of hands of the workers from getting injured. Such protective gloves shall be provided where the hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes. Suitable protective clothing as per relevant national standard available for apron (rubberized, acid and alkali resistant) shall be used for protection of workers who are likely to be exposed to any hazard which may cause injury to their skin.
- Ear protection when exposed to noise - Protection against the effects of noise exposure shall be provided when the sound levels exceed the prescribed standards. The relevant national standard shall be followed while selection of suitable ear protection. Periodic disinfection of reusable ear protectors shall be carried out to eliminate hearing loss caused by infection, discharge, pain etc. in the ear.
- Respiratory protection - Respiratory Protective equipment based on the nature of hazard as per the relevant national standard shall be provided by the occupier of the factory to the workers for their respiratory protection against dust, fumes, gases, particulates etc. Clinical examination and appropriate medical tested shall be undertaken to avoid irritant dermatitis, nose bridge sores, etc. because of prolong use of respiratory personal protective equipment.
- Other protective equipment - Appropriate personal protective equipment based on the nature of hazards as per the relevant national standard shall be provided by the occupier to the workers. These shall include the following
- Safety harnesses with independently secured lifelines where protection against falls cannot be provided by other appropriate means;
- Life vests and life preservers where there is a danger of falling into water; and
- Distinguishing clothing or reflective devices or otherwise conspicuously visible material when there is regular exposure to danger from moving vehicles.
- The Inspector appointed under the Tripura Factories Rules, 2007 may, taking into consideration the nature of the hazards involved in work and process being carried out, order the occupier or the manager in writing to supply to the workers exposed to particular hazard any personal protective equipment as may be found necessary.
DSK Legal's Observation: The Amendment Rules address and elaborate several key aspects concerning the provision and management of factories which had not been previously addressed by the Tripura Factories Rules, 2007. The Amendment Rules maintain the essence of the Tripura Factories Rules, 2007. The Amendment Rules enhance the benefit provided to the female workers in a factory mandatorily and lists out the PPEs to be provided to the workers. There are certain practical difficulties that may be faced by the employers in relation to compliance with the Amendment Rules such as costs associated with providing the PPEs and the cost of maintenance of the PPEs.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.