New Delhi: Seven years after it was first initiated, the Union cabinet on Thursday, finally approved the national policy on occupational safety and health.
This is the first such law that seeks to protect a worker’s right to safe working environment and is expected to push up the operating costs of existing and new units in the country.
At present, working conditions are covered under The Factories Act 1948, which has guidelines on working conditions in hazardous places, but does not have provisions to safeguard worker’s right against occupational disease and related hazards; and covers only those establishments employing more than 20 people.
The new policy will, however, extend to all units in the organized as well as informal sector. India’s burgeoning micro, small and medium enterprises, which contributes 45% of the country’s manufacturing output and is a major employer, will come under its purview.
Small and medium-sized outfits will be enititled to receive financial support for purchase of new and safer machines,and renovate workplace under the new policy, an official note said.