The police have filed an FIR under IPC Sec 304A (death caused due to negligence), and have started to investigate the core cause and inquire about the role of every personnel including security guards working in the BSES (discom) office.
Her relatives expressed angst over the negligence caused, alleging that “she used to take the same route daily when the gate was left open someone could have warned about the hazard…..and even the ambulance delayed arriving to the spot while the victim was yet thriving in great pain with multiple head injuries! The doctors failed to respond appropriately further adding to worry,” accounting these latencies the precious life disappeared in vain.
Labor laws on safety and the need
The labor laws are specifically meant for ensuring the overall wellness of workers and thus harness their optimal potential for the progress of the organization.
Shortcomings of labor laws on safety
Globally around 2.9 million deaths and 402 million non-fatal injuries in the occupational sector attribute to a 5.4% loss in GDP, and a major portion of them occur in the informal sector, due to a lack of regulatory norms.
As per ILO, 60% of laborers account for the informal sector globally, and as per the Periodic Labor Force Survey (PLFS) India has around 90% informal workers, hence the risk of occupational accidents are high in India.
Issues of labor laws on safety in India
- India has ratified only 6 out of 8 core ILO conventions, which are:-
i) Forced labor convention (No.29)
ii) Abolition of forced Labor Convention (No.105)
iii) Equal Remuneration Convention (No.100)
iv) Discrimination (Employment Occupation) Convention (No.111)
v) Minimum Age Convention (No.138)
vi) Worst forms of Child Labor Convention (No.182)
vii) Freedom of Association and Protection of Rights to Organized Convention (No.87) — not ratified
viii) Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention (No.98) — not ratified
- The new amalgamation of 29 laws (called OSHO) manifests the government’s interest to privatize the sectors and favor the FDI inflow to gain economic growth which had declined due to the pandemic, and derelict the workers’ safety, because:-
- the new modification of Labor codes permits small establishments with 300 workers and below to evade away issuing protocols related to safety standards and an amiable work environment, which fosters the employers to exploit the workers with harsh working conditions and low pay scale (while the earlier law had the threshold at 100 workers).
- the new modification to the Industrial Relations Code requires the workers of all industrial sectors to issue a 60-day prior notice to hold any protest, this blatantly hinders any anti-organization movements due to sufficient time available for the organization to smother it, (while the earlier law limited it only to water, electricity, natural gas, telephone, and other essential sectors).
- Poor statistics maintained by labor regarding accidents occurring in the automobile sector.
- under-reporting of non-fatal / minor accidents (approx. 75% goes unreported).
- negligence by the States-UTs like Delhi, Kerala, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal to report accidents (between 2010 – 2015) non-contributes to the government to frame proper policies, because “labor” is a concurrent subject.
- Poor inspection due to lack of officials.
- As reported by Directorate General Factory Advice and Labor Institutes (DGFASLI) there was a 29.4% shortage of officials bringing the narrowed ratio of 1 officer for 487 factories causing a huge workload.
- There is a considerable decline in inspection owing to the disproportionate workload, the decline rate stands at 36.23% in 2008 – 2011, 34.65% in 2012 – 2015, and 24.76% subsequently.
- Poor conviction is due to improper scrutiny, which is left to the discretion of officers.
- Lack of proper medical facilities at the workplaces with specialists in industrial injuries.
Instances of exploitation (other than Delhi)
- The tribal group called “Sahariya” in Rajasthan has been facing severe exploitation unable to repay the borrowed loans from their employer, this includes physical and sexual abuse.
- Mining workers of Rajasthan face health assaulting epidemic disease called “Silicos”, but they are uncovered with any medical insurance, despite only 10% of such mine owners being licensed.
- 90% of workers in explosives & cracker industries face frequent mishaps due to being a novice to the factory.
- Around 56% of the exploited workers are Dalits, and the most impacted are the safai karmcharies, septic tank cleaners, etc.
- District-wise health survey of laborers must be conducted.
- Workers must be provided with proper gear. The tribal group called “Sahariya” in Rajasthan has been facing severe exploitation unable to repay.
- Proper skilling of the workers needs to be done especially for those who are employed in hazardous sectors like chemicals, explosives, and mines.
- Utilize the existing government schemes to help the informal sector workers:-
- Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan: to financially aid informal sector workers.
- E – shram portal: to create a database of informal sector workers.
- Udyam portal: to ease up the registration of MSMEs.
- PM Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan scheme: which provides a pension for unorganized workers of age 18 to 40 years, with income below ₹15,000.