After consulting trade unions, employers and other stakeholders involved, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar finally introduced the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha. The Code proposes amendments to the laws that regulate the occupational safety, health and working conditions of those employed in various establishments.
The Bill is aimed to ensure the safety, health, and welfare of all workers, which is necessary for economic growth. After all, only a healthy workforce can deliver the desired level of productivity. The introduction of this Bill is expected to reduce the number of accidents and mishaps at work.
The Bill, which earlier covered only about nine primary sectors, will now cover workers from all the establishments that employ 10 or more people. The establishments that are covered include those that are into any trade, business, manufacturing activity, and even those belonging to the IT and services sectors.
To ensure wider coverage, ‘working journalists’ and ‘cine workers’ have been redefined to include workers employed in electronic media and all forms of audio visual production. The term ‘inter-state migrant worker’ is also to be redefined to include migrant workers who are employed directly by the employers from other states in the absence of contractors or agents.
The extended coverage of the Code will no doubt enhance the working conditions and also ensure their safety and health.