Parliament Standing Committee on Labour which has vetted the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019 (OSHWC Code) has recommended appointment of a Safety Officer in all establishments, especially dealing with hazardous processes including Building and Construction activities, even with less than the stipulated 500 workers.
“Safety has to be accorded top most priority for each and every individual worker, including those working in the unorganised sector. The Committee, therefore, desire that instead of leaving safety matters to be taken care of through rules, an explicit provision be made under Clause 22 of the Code to notify appointment of a Safety Officer in all establishments, especially dealing with hazardous processes including Building and Construction activities, even with less than the stipulated 500 workers,” the Committee headed by Bhartruhari Mahtab said in its report. However, its up to the government to accept or reject the recommendations of the Standing Committee.
The committee has also recommended greater responsibilities on the Principal Employer while employing contract labour. The Committee has recommended that in case of failure of the contractor to pay the prescribed wages as per the stipulations to the contract employees, responsibility be fixed on the Principal Employer and requisite provisions be made in the Code itself.
As many as 13 extant Labour Legislation (including The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996) are being subsumed in the OSHWC Code, 2019 with the intent to provide basic broad legislative framework with enabling provisions for framing rules, regulations, standards and bye-laws. The OSHWC Code, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 23.7.2019 and referred to the Committee by the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha for examination and report within three months. OSHWC Code, 2019 aims to enhance the effective coverage of the safety, health and working conditions manifold in favour of the workers in all sectors including Building and Other Construction Workers.