DU SOL B.Com 3rd Year Human Resource Management Notes Chapter 16 Employee Health
Explain the term “industrial health”. What is the importance of industrial health ?
Meaning And Importance Of Industrial Health:
The term “health” is a positive and dynamic concept and implies more than an absence of illness. W.H.O. has defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence , of disease or infirmity.” Industrial health refers to a system of public health and preventive medicine which is applicable to industrial concerns.
Industrial health, accordance to the joint ILO/W.H.O. committee on Organisational Health, is
- the prevention and maintenance of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations;
- prevention among workers of ill-health caused by the working conditions;
- protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to
- placing and maintenance of the worker in the occupational . environment adapted to his physical and psychological equipment. Industrial health depends not only on the individual but also on the environment in which he lives and works.
The basic objective of industrial health is the prevention of disease and injury rather than the cure of disease. It involves a programme of health conservation and prevention of occupational disease.
Importance Of Industrial Health:
Since a large number of workers spend a great deal of their time in an industrial setting, their environment is not usually conducive to a healthy life. Moreover, malnutrition, insanitary and psychological conditions, and the strains and stresses under which they live impair their health.
On the one hand, efficiency in work is possible only when an employee is healthy; on the other, the industry exposes him to certain hazards which he would not meet elsewhere and which may affect his health. It is with the intention of reducing these hazards and improving the worker’s health that the discipline of industrial health came into being as a branch of public health in its own right. Bad health results in a high rate of. absenteeism and turnover, industrial discontent and indiscipline, poor performance and low productivity.
That is why when industrial health programmes are introduced, both employers and workers benefit. A reduction in the rate of labour turnover, absenteeism, accidents and occupational diseases has been the natural consequence of industrial health programmes. The other benefits include reduced spoilage, improved morale, increased productivity per employee and a longer working period of an individual.
Describe the state of industrial health in India. What are the causes of bad health ? What suggestions will you offer to improve the health of workers ?
Industrial Health In India:
The problem of health of industrial workers may be viewed from two angles: First, the health hazards which are common to all citizens and secondly, the occupational health risks, to which industrial worker, being a citizen, shares the common health risks with all other members of the community and his needs are met by the general health services. But as far as occupational risks are concerned, these should be met by a properly constituted health services which can deal with the science and art of persuading and improving the comfort of workers through the recognition, evaluation and control of the environmental factors which adversely affect the health of industrial workers.
The Problem of health is gaining importance because the loss of working days in industries due to illness is many times more than that caused by accidents. The Royal Commission on Labour in India recognised the fact that ill health and sickness are the most widespread causes of absenteeism, lower morale and bad time-keeping leading to decreased production, spoiled work and bad labour management relations.
Present State of Health in India:
In India, the health conditions are not satisfactory. The poor state of health can be seen from the low expectation of life, which was estimated to be 54.1 years for males and 54.7 years for females during 1971-81 but it is much lower than that of other countries.
Data regarding general health conditions in India may be found in a number of publications, but data regarding the health of the industrial workers in this country are however scanty. The machinery for providing health information about the industrial workers is also not complete. Statistics relating to absenteeism due to sickness show that the percentage is fairly high.
According to the data collected by Prof. B.P. Adarkar the maximum rate of sickness cause to 1 -6 days per annum per worker.
Causes of Bad Health:
The main causes of bad health may be enumerated below:
1. Prevalence of insanitary conditions in industries is the main . cause of bad industrial health. Basic facilities such as facilities of drinking water, latrines and urinals etc. are not provided by most of the employers in India. It adversely affects the health of the workers.
2. Defective nutrition – The industrial worker does not get the required calories of food to maintain his health because he is low-paid and cannot arrange for better nutritive values from the available means.
3. Existing medical and preventive health organisations are inadequate. The employers are indifferent to the problem.
4. Workers in India are uneducated and poor and therefore they do not care much for their health.
5. Other causes – There are several other causes of bad health. They
- Long hours of work and low wages;
- Migratory character of workers. They daily come from and go their villages.
- Bad climate conditions under which work is performed. They are not provided workable conditions in factories.
Measures To Improve Health Conditions:
The Government of India since Independence has taken following steps to protect the health of the workers:
1. Legislative Measures – The Government of India has enacted several labour legislations protecting the health of the workers. For example, ; Factories Act 1948, Mines Act 1952, Coal Mines Act 1952, Employees State Insurance Act. Under these Acts several provisions are made to protect the health of workers. The measures in these Acts are both curative and preventive.
2. Special Advisory Committee – A Special Advisory Committee on industrial health has been set up to conduct research on health problems and to investigate the following:
- effect of noise on workers;
- sickness and absenteeism due to accidents;
- incidence of bad intoxication;
- assessment of toxicity of industrial dusts.
3. Education and Training in Industrial Health – An Industrial Health and Safety Bulletin is being published regularly to educate the workers. A special course in Industrial Hygiene has been introduced at All India Institute of Hygiene and public Health to train medical personnel connected with the industries. Medical Inspectors are being appointed in various states. The U,P. Government has established an Industrial Health Organisation.
A number of training organisation have been set up by the controllers of the state Governments in the country and the services of several foreign organisation are made available to undertake surveys in industrial health, safety and welfare programmes.
The various -efforts made by the Government of India and the Governments of various states to. improve the hygiene conditions of industrial workers are really to be appreciated but this all is not sufficient. Prevention of disease and health depend to a large extent upon the environment in which people are born, grow, go to school, eat, drink, travel, Work and relax. Therefore, the health of industrial workers cannot be improved unless their standard of living is improved and better working conditions are provided. A few suggestions in this regard may be forwarded as below:
1. Malnutritions and the insanitary conditions of living are the main causes of bad health and therefore efforts should be made towards improving the diet and-housing conditions first, rather than concentrating mainly on the improvement of the medical facilities.
2. As suggested by National Commission on Labour, there should be a regular medical check-up of all new employees and regular periodical check-up of all employees from time to time.
This will help to:
- Eliminate those whose health is not fit for job and those who suffer from communicable diseases
- Detect and provide for remediable disease; and
- Maintain the health of those who are healthy.
3. It should be the duty of every employer to study the effects of environmental factors on the health of the workers and devise the preventive measures.
Discuss the provisions relating to employee health as prescribed under the Factories Act.
Industrial Health Under-Factories Act:
Factories Act 1948 lays down certain provisions concerning employee health of workers working in a factory. These provisions impose upon the occupiers or managers certain obligations to protect the health of the workers.
These provisions require occupiers or managers to maintain the inspecting staff so that provisions of the Act may be really made effective. The provisions of the Act as regards maintenance of health are explained below:
1. Cleanliness [Sec. 11]. Every factory shall be kept clean and free from effluvia arising from any drain, privy or other nuisance, and in particular –
(a) accumulation of direct and refuse shall be removed daily by sweeping or by any other effective method from the floors and benches of workrooms, and from staircase and passages and disposed of in a suitable manner.
(b) The floor of every workroom shall be cleaned at least once in a week washing, using disinfectant where necessary or by some other effective method.
(c) Where a floor is liable’ to become wet in the course of any manufacturing process to such an extent as is capable of being drained, effective means, of drainage shall be provided and maintained.
(d) All inside walls and partitions, all ceilings or tops of rooms and all walls, side and tops of passages and stair cases shall.
- Where they are painted otherwise than with washable water paint or varnish, be repainted or reVamished at least once in every period of five years.
- Where they are painted with washable water-paint, be repainted with at least one coat of such paint at least once in every period of three years and washed at least once in every period of six months.
- Where they are painted or varnished or where they have smooth impervious surfaces be cleaned at least once every period of fourteen months by such methods as may be prescribed.
- In any other case, be kept whitewashed, or colour washed and the white washing or colour washing shall be carried out at least once in every period of fourteen months.
(e) All doors and window frames and other wooden or metallic framework and shutters shall be kept painted or varnished and painting or varnishing shall be carried out at least once in every’ period of five years.
(f) The dates on which the process required by clause (d) are carried out shall be entered in the prescribed register.
If in view of the nature of the operations carried on in a factory class or description of factories or any part of the factory or class or description of factories, it is not possible for the occupier to comply with all or any of the above provisions. The State Governments may be order exempt such factory qr class or description of factories or part from any of the above mentioned provisions and specify alternative method, for keeping the factory in a clean state.
2. Disposal of Wastes and Effluents [Sec. 12]. Effective arrangements shall be made in every factory for the treatment of wastes and’ effluents due to the manufacturing process carried on therein so as to render them innocuous, and for their disposal.
The state Government has the power to make rules in this regard or it may required that such arrangements shall be approved by a prescribed authority.
3. Ventilation and Temperature [Sec. 13].
Effective and suitable provision shall be made in every factory for securing and maintaining in every workroom.
(a) adequate ventilation by the circulation of fresh air and
(b) such a temperature as well secure to workers therein reasonable condition of comfort and prevent injury to health
(c) The walls and roofs of workroom must be of such materials and of such design as to keep the temperature low.
(d) Where the maintenance of high temperature is necessary for the process carried on in the factory, the workroom should be separated from the process either by insulating the hot part by some effective devices. The state Government may prescribe a standard of adequate ventilation and reasonable temperature and may also provide for the adoption of methods which will keep the temperature low. It may also make rules providing for the keeping of thermometers in specified places. Sec. 14 of the Act provides for precautions against the dangerous fumes.
Where the chief inspector is of the opinion that excessively high temperature of the factory can be reduced by adopting suitable measures, he may serve on the occupier a notice to the occupier specify the measures that should be adopted and such orders should be carried out before a specified date.
4. Dust and Fume [Sec, 14].
(i) In every factory in which, by reason of the manufacturing process carried on, there is given off any dust or fume or other impurity of such a nature and to such as extent as is likely to be injurious or offensive to the workers, employed therein, or any dust in substantial quantities, effective measures shall be taken to prevent its inhalation and accumulation in any workroom, and if any exhaust appliance is necessary for this purpose, it shall be applied as near as possible to the point of origin of the dust, fume or other impurity and such point shall be enclosed so far as possible.
(ii) In any factory no stationery internal combustion engine shall be operated unless the exhaust is conducted into the open air and no other internal combustion engine shall be operated in any room unless effective measures have been taken to prevent such accumulation of fumes therefrom as the likely to be injurious to workers employed in the room.
5. Artificial Humidification [Sec. 15].
(i) In respect of all factories in which the humidity of the air is artificially increased, the State Government may make rules
- prescribing standard of humidification,
- regulating the method used for artificially increasing the humidity of the air,
- directing prescribed tests for determining the humility of the air to be correctly carried out and recorded,
- prescribed methods to be adopted for securing adequate ventilation and cooling of the air and the workrooms.
(ii) In any factory in which the humidity of the air is artificially increased, the water used for the purpose shall be taken from a public supply or other source of drinking water, or shall be effectively purified before it is so used.
(iii) If it appears to an inspector that the water used in a factory for increasing humidity which is required to be effectively purified is not purified effectively, he may serve on the manager of the factory an order in writing, specifying the measure which should be adopted and requiring them to be carried out before specified date.
6. Overcrowding [Sec. 16].
(i) No room in any factory shall be overcrowded to an extent injurious to the health of the workers employed therein.
(ii) Without prejudice to the generality of the above subsection, there shall be in every workroom of a factory in existence on the date of commencement of this Act at least 9.9 cubic metres and of a factory build after commencement of the Act at least 14.2 cubic metres of space for every worker employed therein. For this purpose, no account shall be taken of any space which is more than 4.2 metres above the level of the floor of the room.
(iii) If Chief Inspector so requires, there shall be pasted in each workroom a notice specifying the maximum number of person who may be employed in the room.
The Chief Inspector, if he thinks fit, may in writing exempt any workroom from compliance of the provisions of this section.
7. Lighting [Sec. 16].
- In every part of a factory where workers are working or passing there shall be provided and maintained sufficient and suitable lighting nathral or artificial or both.
- In every factory all glazed windows and sky lights used for the lighting of the workroom shall be kept clean on both the inner and outer surfaces.
- In every factory, effective provision shall be made for the prevention of glare either directly or from a surface of light or by reflection from a smooth or polished surface and the formation of shadows to such an extent to cause eye strain or the risk of accident to workers.
The State Government may prescribe standards of sufficient and suitableiighting for factories or for any class or description of factories or for any manufacturing process.
8. Drinking Water [Sec. 18].
1. In every factory effective arrangements shall be made to provide and maintain at suitable points conveniently situated for all workers employed therein a sufficient supply of wholesome drinking water.
2. All such points shall be legibly marked “drinking water” in a language understood by a majority of the workers employed in the factory and no such place should be situated within 6 metres of any washing place, urinal or latrine Spittoons, open drain carrying sullages or effluent or any other source of contamination unless a shorter distance is approved in writing by the Chief Inspector.
3. In every factory wherein more than two hundred and fifty workers are ordinarily employed, provisions shall be made for cooling drinking water during hot weather by effective means and for distribution thereof.
In respect of all factories or any class or description of factories, the State Government may make rules for securing compliance with the above provisions and for examination by the prescribed authorities of the supply and distribution of drinking water.
9. Latrine and Urinals [Sec. 19]. This section requires Sufficient latrine and urinal accommodation and there must be separate closed accommodation for male and female workers. This accommodation must be adequately lighted, ventilated and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.
These should be situated at suitable places accessible to the workers. Sufficient number of sweepers should be employed to keep urinals, latrines and washing places clean. Where more than 250 workers are ordinarily employed, all latrines and urinal accommodation shall be of prescribed sanitary types.
The State Government may prescribed the number of latrines and urinals to be provided in any factory in proportion to the number of male and female workers. The floors and internal walls up to height of 90 cms. of the latrines and-urinals and sanitary blocks shall be laid in glazed tiles or otherwise furnished to provide a smooth and polished impervious surface. – Without prejudice to the above mentioned provisions, the floor, portiop of the walls and blocks so laid or finished and the sanitary pass of latrines and urinals shall be thoroughly washed and cleaned at least once in every seven days with suitable detergents or disinfectants or with both.
10. Spittoons [Sec. 20].
- There shall be provided a sufficient number of spittoons at convenient places and they shall be maintained in a clean and hygienic conditions.
- The State Government may make rules prescribing the type and number of spittoons to be provided and their location in any factory and provide for such further matters relating to their maintenance.
- No person shall spit within the premises of a factory except in the spittoons provided for the purpose and a notice containing this provision and the penalty for its violation shall be prominently displayed at suitable places in the premises.
- Contravention of sub-section (3) shall be punishable with fine not exceeding five rupees.