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Posted at: Jul 27, 2019, 7:28 AM; last updated: Jul 27, 2019, 11:05 AM (IST)

Staff forced to work under unsafe conditions: Unions

Questions raised over workers’ safety in wake of factory blast

Harshraj Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26

Following a furnace blast at a factory in Jhabewal that killed one workers and left around 11 injured, questions are being raised over the safety of workers in factories. The labour unions and activists have blamed the Labour Department for turning a blind eye to the violations in factories as no measures are being taken to ensure safety of employees who work under tough conditions.

Members of various unions claimed that even the first aid kits were not available in many factories. A number of factories where furnaces are used are located in residential areas and there is no check on safety measures at such factories.

Rajwinder of the Karkhana Mazdoor Union said: “The labourers are being exploited as they are forced to work under unsafe conditions. There are no safety arrangements at working stations in most factories. The labour laws are not being implemented in the right manner. Such incidents have occurred in the past too but the respective factory owners are often spared. It is a fact that workers in many factories are not even provided identity cards. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure safety of workers at work places.”

Former MLA Tarsem Jodhan said there was no safety of workers at 95% factories. Workers are being exploited as the Labour Department is in a deep slumber. It has been seen that the voice of labourers is suppressed in the absence of any union in factories. Many workers are forced to work continuously for 12 hours. The district administration and the Labour Commissioner must check violations at factories.”

“A probe must be carried out into the Jhabewal factory incident. If necessary measures are taken for the safety of workers, such tragedies can be averted in the future,” he said.

A member of the Punjab Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Board under Government of Punjab, Gyasudin Ansari, said: “There are no arrangements for workers’ safety at many factories. Safety uniform and shoes are not being provided to the workers. It is the responsibility of every factory owner to ensure safety of each worker at the workplace. In Punjab, labourers are forced to work for 12 hours instead of the fixed eight hours. Besides, a large number of workers are not being provided identity cards and ESI health cards.”

It was also learnt that a number of factories remain locked at night while workers do various jobs inside. 

The Assistant Labour Commissioner concerned could not be contacted for comments.

Probe the incident

A probe must be carried out into the Jhabewal factory incident. If necessary measures are taken for the safety of workers, such tragedies can be averted in the future. — Tarsem Jodhan, former MLA 

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