The reports and statistics prove that every year about 48000 workers of the construction industry succumb to the injuries caused in the workplace. The occupational hazard of this industry or any other industry has not been eliminated due to the lack of trained professionals in the field of safety and compliance and also educated and trained workers. Owing to the gap between the employers’ responsibility and the absence of trained professionals, the responsibility of safety measures lies largely with the employees / workers; although legally, employers / contractors are still responsible for providing proper safety measures.
India has its own set of regulations that governs the construction industry. The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act in 1996 and the Central Rules. Very often even basic safety, health and environment (SHE) rules are not obeyed, and safety is jeopardised due to “cost and risk optimisation”.
The regulations are an exhaustive set of mandatory rules and it broadly covers the following aspects:
- the advisory committees and expert committees: the different committees that are to be constituted
- registration of establishments: requirements and process related to registration of establishments
- registration of building workers as beneficiaries: addition or removal of workers among others
- building and other construction workers’ welfare boards: constitution of the boards, meetings, functionaries, grants, and loans, etc.
- hours of work, welfare measures and other conditions of service of building workers: wages, work hours, work conditions and various facilities
- safety and health measures: forming health and safety committees, deputing safety officers, notifications of accidents, framing model rules for safety
- inspecting staff: appointment of Director-General, Chief Inspector and Inspectors, framing the powers of inspectors
- special provisions: responsibility of employers, responsibility for payment of wages and compensation, notice of commencement of building or other construction work
- penalties and procedures: penalties for contravention of provisions regarding safety measures, for failure to give notice of the commencement of the building or other construction work, for obstructions and other offences. It also has sections on appeals and recovery of penalties.
- miscellaneous: delegation of powers, application of Act 8 of 1923 to building workers, power of central government to give directions, power to remove difficulties and to make rules, etc.
The above list is just a glimpse into the outline of the act; please click here to access the rule book. It is expected that professionals of the power and construction industry are well-versed in the Act which governs the construction industry.
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