changes in relation to health, safety and welfare
The Code does not impose many new legal obligations
upon employers and others in relation to health, safety
and welfare – with most of the obligations contained
in the old legislation being simply transposed almost
word for word into the new code. However, the old
obligations do apply to a wider range of premises,
there are new offences and sentencing provisions and
changes in prosecutions processes.
Application of the new Code: The
health, safety and welfare duties and obligations
that were contained in the old Factories Act –
and which have now been transposed to chapters 5 (health
and hygiene), 6 (safety), 7 (special provisions with
regard to health and safety, and 8 (Welfare measures)
- only applied to ‘factories’. The new
code however applies to ‘establishments’
which not only includes ‘factories’ but
also shops, hotels, restaurants, cinema and certain
kinds of offices (see 2(31), 2(41) and 2(61).
In addition, there is no minimum threshold or number
of workers that establishments have to employ before
the code's obligations apply to an establishment.
In contrast the old Factories Act only applied to
factories which employed over ten workers.
The Code does not apply to most government bodies,
nor certain kinds of non-for profit organisations
or educational and research institutions (see section
1(4)) – and perhaps most significantly does
not apply to the construction sector.
Courts. In the past criminal prosecutions
for offences contained in the Factories Act took place
in the magistrates court. Section 107(2) of the Factories
Act had stated, "No court inferior to that
of a Magistrate of the First Class shall try an offence
under this Act or any rules or order made thereunder".
Now all prosecutions for offences must take place
in the Labour Court using the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Prosecutor: In the past only factory
inspectors could prosecute criminal cases: section
107 (1) of the Factories Act had stated that "no
court shall take cognisance of an offence under this
Act except upon complaints made by or under the authority
of or with the previous permission in writing of,
an inspector" Now this right of prosecution
has been given to a wider category of people, in particular
an 'aggrieved person or trade union”. Aggrieved
person is likely only to apply to the actual worker
injured or members of the bereaved family)
Offences and sentences: there are new criminal
offences relating to violations of the code that cause,
death or injury (section 309) with significantly higher
sentences available to the courts.
read more about the criminal offences in the Labour
Code and their prosecution