Overview Of The Dock Workers (Safety, Health And Welfare) Act, 1986
This Blog is written by Arpana Komal from Central University of South Bihar, Gaya. Edited by Naina Agarwal.
Workers who are employed in any work within the vicinity of any port for the aim of loading, unloading, movement, or storage of cargoes, i.e., anything carried during a ship or vessel, into or from a ship, port, dock, and storage place are referred to as dockworkers and for the smooth functioning of a corporation, the employer should ensure safety and security of his employees. Health and safety form an integral part of the work environment. a piece environment should enhance the well-being of employees and thus should be accident-free. The terms of health, safety, and security are closely associated with one another. Health is the general state of well-being. To provide for the security, health, and welfare of the dockworkers and for matters connected therewith, the Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986 has been promulgated by the Parliament of India within the year 1986. This Act has 25 Sections and contains provisions like Powers of Inspectors, Facilities to be afforded to an Inspector, Advisory Committee, Protection of action taken in straightness, Power of court to form orders, Provision regarding fine and General provision concerning rules and regulations.
KEY PROVISIONS OF THE ACT
1. No dock worker shall wilfully alter or neglect the use of any appliance, convenience, or other things that are provided for the purpose of securing safety, health, and welfare of dock workers. Nor shall he wilfully and without any reasonable cause to take any such action that is likely to endanger his life or other workers’ lives.
2. The appropriate Government may direct inquiry into cases of accidents or diseases occurring in connection with dock workers.
3. The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint the Chief Inspector and inspectors subordinate to him for the purpose of dock safety.
4. If a person takes any step in a good faith, then no legal proceedings shall lie against him.
5. The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, frame rules in accordance with the provisions of this Act to provide for the safety, health, and welfare of dock workers. Effective arrangements shall be made to provide adequate ventilation and suitable temperature, fencing of machinery, fire and explosion protection, proper handling of dangerous substances, protective equipment, sanitary, washing and welfare facilities, medical supervision, ambulance rooms, and first aid facilities, investigation of occupational accidents, dangerous occurrences and diseases, etc.
PROVISIONS OF THE ACT
Sec. 1 deals with the applicability of this act which shall extend to the whole of India and shall not apply to any ship of war of any nationality and came into force on 15th April 1987.
Sec. 2(a) to Sec. 2(h) deals with the definition whereas Sec. 3 of this act talks about the appointment of Inspector by the government through a notification in the Official Gazette and the power of Chief Inspector shall also exercise the power of an Inspector. The Chief Inspector and all Inspectors shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code.
Sec. 4 states the powers of Inspectors where he can enter anywhere he has reason to believe that any dock worker is being carried on, Can make an examination of the ship, dock, lifting machinery, or any other premises that are being used for any dock worker, he has the power to hold an inquiry into the causes of any accident which he has reason to believe was the result of the collapse or failure of lifting machinery, transport equipment, staging or non-compliance with any of the provisions of this Act or the regulations and exercise such other powers as may be conferred upon him by the regulations.
Sec. 5 states the powers of Inspectors where employment of dock workers is dangerous, he may, in writing, serve on the owner or on the person in charge of such place an order prohibiting any dock work in such place until measures have been taken to remove the cause of the danger to his satisfaction and shall endorse a copy to the Chief Inspector who may modify or cancel the order without waiting for an appeal whereas under Sec. 8 any person who is aggrieved may appeal to the chief inspector within the 15 days the date on which the order is communicated to him.
Under Sec. 6 of the Act Chief Inspector if given all the facilities for making any entry, inspection, survey measurement’, examination, or inquiry by the owner or person in charge of the place at which any dock work is being carried on whereas Sec. 7 restricts on disclosure of information which comes in the knowledge during the inspection or investigations shall be regarded as confidential and should not be disclosed except for the purpose of any action or proceeding or when it becomes necessary to ensure the health, safety or welfare of any dock worker. If the information is being disclosed, contrary to the provisions of this section then he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
Sec 9 of this act deals with the appointment, composition, and tenure of the members of the advisory committee and Sec. 10 deals with the power of appropriate Government to direct inquiry into cases of accidents or diseases and the person holding an inquiry under this section shall have all the powers of’ a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure for the purposes of enforcing the attendance of a witness and compelling the production of the document and material objects and may also, so far as may be necessary for the purposes of the inquiry, exercise any of the powers of an Inspector under this Act; and every person required by the person making the inquiry to furnish any information shall be deemed to be legally bound so to do within the meaning of Section 176 or the Indian Penal Code also the person holding the inquiry under this section shall make a report to the appropriate Government stating the causes of the accident.
Sec. 11 is about the obligation of dockworkers and the punishment with the imprisonment for a term of three months or the fine of Re. 100 or both.
Sec. 12 deals with the power to exempt from all of any of the provisions of this Act and of’ the regulations, or such conditions, if any, as it thinks fit and Sec. 13 states that no suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against any person for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Act.
Any person wilfully obstructs an Inspector in the exercise of any power conferred by or under this Act or fails to produce on-demand by an Inspector any register or other documents kept in pursuance of the regulations or otherwise in connection with any dock work or conceals or prevents or attempts to prevent any person from appearing before, or being examined by, an Inspector shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both is stated in clause 1 of Sec. 14. Clause 2 states that Being a person whose duty is to comply with any of the regulations if any, person, contravenes such regulations and such contravention results in any fatal accident to a dock worker, or an accident, which incapacitates a dock worker from earning his full wages for more than a fortnight, the person shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which shall not be less than two thousand rupees.
Section 15 deals Determination of the persons liable for the offense in certain cases. If the person committing an offense made punishable by this Act or the regulation of any abetment thereof may be a firm or other association of people or a corporation or an area authority, shall or any of the partners or members or directors thereof also because the firm, Dissociation of people, company or agency shall be deemed to be guilty of the offense or abetment and shall be susceptible to be proceeded against and punished accordingly:
Provided that where a firm, association or company has given notices in writing to the Chief Inspector where any dock work is being carried that it’s nominated,: within the case of’ a any of its partners; within the case of any association, any of its members; or within the case of a corporation, any of its directors; Who is resident, in each case in anywhere to which this Act extends and who is in each case either actually responsible of the management of, or holds the most important number of shares in, such firm, association or company, to assume the responsibility of the person responsible of any dock work for the needs of this Act, such partner, member or director, because the case could also be, shall, goodbye as he continues to so aside and be responsible of hold the most important number of shares as aforesaid, he deemed to be the person responsible of such dock work for the needs of this Act unless a notice in writing cancelling, his nomination or stating that he has ceased to be a partner, member or director, because the case could also be, is received by the Chief Inspector.
The power of the court to form orders is discussed under Sec. 16 which states that where an individual is convicted or an offense punishable under this Act the court may, additionally to awarding, him any punishment, by order in writing require him within a period laid out in the order (which could also be extended by the court from time to time on an application made during this behalf) to require such measures as could also be so specified for remedying, the matters in respect of which offense was committed. Clause 2 states that where an order is formed under sub-section (1), the person shall not be liable under this Act in respect of the continuance of the offense during the amount, or extended period, if any, but if on the expiry of such period or extended period the order of the Court has not been any complied with, the person shall be deemed to possess committed under their offence and shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which can reach six months, or with fine which can reach 100 rupees for each may after such expiry on which the order has not been complied with, or with both.
Sec. 17 is about the Provisions concerning Jurisdiction
1. No court inferior thereto of a metropolitan magistrate or a magistrate of the first class shall try any offence under this Act or the regulations.
2. No prosecution for any offence under this Act or the regulations shall be instituted except by or with the previous sanction of all Inspector.
3. Notwithstanding, anything contained within the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), no court shall take cognizance of an offence under this Act or the regulations unless complaint thereof’ has been made-
a) within the case of File offence punishable with fine, –
- Within six months from the date of the offence; or
- Where the commission of the offence wasn’t known to the Inspector, within six months from the first day on which the offence involves the knowledge of’ the Inspector or
- Where it’s not known by whom the offence was committed, within six months from the first-day oil which the identity of the offender is understood to the Inspector; or
b) within the case of an offence punishable with imprisonment
- Within one year from the date of the offence; or
- Where the commission of the offence wasn’t known to the Inspector, within one year from the first day on which the offence involves the knowledge of the Inspector; or
- Where it’s not known by whom the offence was committed, within six months from the first day on which the identity of the offender is known to the Inspector.
Explanation- For the needs of this section, within the case of an unbroken offence a fresh period of limitation shall begin to run at every movement of the time during which the offence continues.
Sec. 18 is regarding fine which states to pass a sentence of fine exceeding five thousand rupees authorized by this Act or the regulations on a person convicted of any offence thereunder, should tend by a metropolitan magistrate or a magistrate of the primary class
Sec. 19 is a General provision for punishment for other offences which states a person who contravenes any provision of this Act shall if no other penalty is provided for such contravention under this Act, be punishable with a fine, which can reach five hundred rupees.
Sec. 20 is about Power to form rules. the acceptable Government may, by notification within the Official Gazette, make rules according to this Act for all or any of the subsequent purposes, namely:-
1) way during which an Inspector is to exercise the powers conferred upon him under this Act;
2) The inspection of premises of ships where any dock work is carried on;
3) the way of services of orders made under this Act;
4) The term of office and other conditions of service of members of the Advisory Committee, the way of filling, vacancies among, and therefore the procedure to be followed in, the discharge of their functions under subsection (5) of Section 9;
5) The procedure at inquiries under Section 10; and
6) The other matter, which is to be provided for by rules under this Act.
Sec. 21 talks about the facility to form regulation and to supply for the overall requirement concerning the development, equipping and maintenance, safety of the regular approaches over a dock, wharf, quay or other places which dock workers need to use for going for work and for fencing of such places and projects providing for the security of workers on docks from the danger of falling overboard being struck by cargo during loading or unloading operations and lots of more concerning all the essential necessity employed by the dock workers keeping in purview for his or her safety and health.
General provision concerning rules and regulations is under Sec. 22 which states
1. The facility to form rules and regulations connected by Sections 20 and 21 is subject to the condition of the principles and regulations being, made after previous publications.
2. The date to be laid out in accordance with clause (3) of section 23 of the overall Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897), as that after which a draft of rules or regulations proposed to be made are going to be taken into account, shall not be but forty-five days from the date on which the draft of the proposed rules or regulations is published for general information.
3. Every rule and each regulation made under this Act by the Central Government shall be laid as soon as could also be after it’s made, before each House or Parliament, while it’s in session, for a complete period of thirty days which can be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making, any modification within the rule of regulation or both Houses agree that the rule or regulation shouldn’t be made, the rule of regulation shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, because the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder rule or regulation, because the case may he.
4. Every rule and each regulation, made under this Act by a government shall be laid, as soon as could also be after it’s made, before the State Legislature.
Sec. 23 deals with Amendment of Act 9 of 1948 during which Sec. 3, sub-section (2), in clause (g) the words “and welfare” shall be omitted; and clause (h) shall be omitted.
In Section 24 The Indian Dock Labourers Act, 1934 (19 of 1934), is hereby repealed and in Section 25 The Indian Dock Labourers Regulations, 1948 made under section 5 of the Indian Dock Labourers Act, 1934 (19 of 1934) so repealed and therefore the Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Scheme 1961 made under Section 4 of the Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1948 (9 of 1948) shall be deemed to be regulations framed under this Act and shall be effective unless they’re altered or repealed under this Act which is additionally referred to as saving clause.