Guidelines issued to the management of factories and establishments

In the backdrop of the catastrophic outbreak of COVID-19, the Ministry of Labour and Employment of India on 20 March 2020[1], has advised the Employers of Public/ Private Establishments to extend their coordination by not terminating their employees, particularly, casual or contractual workers from job or reduce their wages. If any worker takes leave, he should be deemed to be on duty without any consequential deduction in wages for this period. Further, if the place of employment is to be made non-operational due to COVID-19, the employees of such unit will be deemed to be on duty.

The Government of Karnataka, on 22 March 2020[2] ordered that all shops, commercial establishments, workshops, godowns dealing with non-essential services be closed. And all labour intensive industries must work at 50% of their strength on rotation basis. The Government has also advised that the employers do not remove any worker on this account and to sanction paid leave on these days to the remaining workers.

The Government of Telengana, vide a notification[3] has ordered for closure of all shops and establishments, except as notified, between the period from 22 March 2020 to 31 March 2020 and declared it as a paid holiday for all categories of employees.

The government of Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Odisha have issued certain guidelines to the management of factories /establishments in view of the prevailing COVID-19 outbreak. These guidelines have been issued on in order to ensure strict compliance with the measures that every factory/ an establishment should necessarily undertake and follow so that it results in containing the spread of COVID-19, as one of the major tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by way of observing social distancing, Therefore, one should adopt highest level of hygiene and sanitation along with social distancing. The following guidelines have been formulated on these lines:

  • Promote frequent handwashing;
  • Workers should be encouraged to stay home if they are sick;
  • Never avail public transport facility to hospital, if suspected of possible exposure of COVID-19;
  • Encourage respiratory etiquettes;
  • Establish policies and practices which facilitate flexible worksite and work hours;
  • Discourage workers from using others’ phones, desks, tools or equipment’s to the extent possible.
  • Avoid grouping;
  • Prompt identification and isolation of infected individuals;
  • Educate the employees to self-monitor signs and symptoms of COVID-19;
  • The district administration should be informed of any employees who has returned from a foreign location or if someone from any foreign location has visited the premises of the factory/establishment;
  • Provide personal protective equipments like prescribed nose mask, face shield / goggles, gloves, apron etc.;
  • Provide facilities for safe disposal of the soiled nose mask, gloves, apron etc.
  • Provide facilities for drying clothing
  • Resist from insisting on the medical certificate of employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness;
  • Permit employee to stay at home to take care of a family member who has been sick;
  • Reduce the number of employees on site, allowing them to maintain distance from one another;
  • Maintain regular housekeeping practices including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment’s and other elements in the factory/establishment;
  • Maintain the canteens and dining rooms in proper hygienic condition;
  • If possible, all workers or visitors, to be screened by infrared thermometer before entering the premises;
  • Avoid bio-metric attendance of the people;
  • To the extent possible, every establishment/factory should have an isolation room, or atleast an area designated with closable doors;
  • Creches shall be specifically monitored and disinfected thoroughly;
  • Health provisions prescribed in chapter III of the Factories Act, 1948 and Chapter VII of The Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996 and related provisions of the Tamil Nadu Factories Rules, 1950 and Tamil Nadu BOCW Rules, 2006 should be strictly complied with;
  • Factories having public address/virtual display system may utilize the same for educating workers on the measures for preventing possible exposure of COVID-19.

 

The most effective way of containing the spread of COVID-19 is by way of observing ‘social distancing’. Government establishments including Secretariat, Directorates, District Level Offices and Sub-district Level Offices as well as certain private establishments including shops, workshops and factories that remain operational during the said period will have to comply with the following guidelines, in order to break the chain of contact to prevent the further spread of the disease. In this regard, the government of Odisha has formulated the following guidelines:

[1] https://labour.gov.in/sites/default/files/file%201.pdf
[2] No. DD/SSU/COVID-19/17/19-20
[3] G.O. Rt No. 160 available at https://goir.telangana.gov.in/

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