The latter half of the 19th century has seen some of the most developmental stages of India's large-scale factories and industrial units. However, there were still a lot of concerns relating to the health, safety, and security of the workers.
These issues led to the enactment of the first Factories Act in 1881 when the then Inspector-in-chief proposed regulating the working conditions of the workers in factories. Although the Act is amended multiple times over the years, it has always recommended the apt conditions at the workplace.
With every revision, the Act addressed the previous defects so that it could be implemented to improve the conditions even to the smaller establishments.
Consequently, on August 28, 1948, the Constituent Assembly passed the Factories Act, which unifies and amends the law relating to labour in factories. The Act was assented to by the Governor General of India on 23 September 1948 and took effect on April 1, 1949.
Imbibing the provisions mentioned in the Act, the Maharashtra Factories Rules, 1963 lays down the essential requirements for a conducive environment in factories and industrial setups. The Rules comprise 32 Forms of which Form 29 is the Muster Roll which is the subject of this post.
Each employer must maintain a muster roll that contains salary or wage information of all employees under the law. We shall learn in detail about the form including the following:
- What is a Muster Roll?
- Who Maintains the Muster Roll?
- What is Maharashtra Form 29 Muster Roll?
- What is The Factories Act, 1948?
- Objectives of The Factories Act, 1948?
- Penalties for Offenses under the Act
- What is Maharashtra Factories Rules, 1963?
- Applicability of the Act
- Compliance Forms under Maharashtra Factories Rules, 1963
What is a Muster Roll?
A muster roll is usually used to describe a list of workers employed in a factory or a worksite to manage their attendance. It is used to keep a track of the attendance of all workers including contractors for a given period. One can also use it to confirm a claim of funds made by an employee in terms of payment of wages.
Although initially meant and introduced in the maritime law context, it referred to a shipmaster’s accounts. The shipmaster’s account comprised of information such as name, age, an employee’s cadre on the ship, and many other details. However, it gradually became more utilized in many other occupations like labour attendance. The employers employing labour maintain muster rolls to keep a tab on their attendance and the duties they perform.
Who Maintains the Muster Roll?
In every factory, the manager is required to maintain the Form 29 - muster roll containing the following information:
- the workers' names
- their job description
- the workers' daily attendance
What is Maharashtra Form 29 Muster Roll?
Maharashtra Form 29 muster Roll is a record that all employers should maintain along with the employee’s name, attendance, job description, duration of work, and so on. The following image depicts the format of the Maharashtra Form 29 muster roll.
Here is the list of details the employers need to fill out:
- Name of the factory:
- Serial No.
- Name (of the employee)
- Father’s name
- Nature of Work
- For the period ending
What is The Factories Act, 1948?
Introduced in 1948 and enacted in 1949, the Factories Act became known as the Factories Act, 1948. With an aim to keep a check on exploitation and to regulate working hours, besides many other aspects, the Act encompasses a comprehensive solution for workers’ problems.
As fixed in the Adult Working Hours Regulations, no worker shall work more than 48 hours a week in a factory along a weekly holiday should be observed.
According to the Act, it is imperative that all factories be kept clean to protect workers' health. Drinking water should be available in adequate quantities. There should be a sufficient number of urinals at convenient locations. Facilities should be well-lit, properly ventilated, and have a comfortable temperature.
In every factory, the Act requires adequate and suitable facilities for workers to wash their clothes. Among the other facilities that should be available are storage and drying facilities for clothing, comfortable seating, first aid equipment, and crèches.
The Act specifies that machines must be fenced, that young people shall not work at dangerous machines. Manholes of sufficient size should be provided to make the emergency escape possible in confined spaces.
Objectives of The Factories Act, 1948?
In essence, the Act aims and serves to protect the interests of workers, check exploitation, and ensure their safety. It also puts the spotlight on hygiene and cleanliness at work. Both the factory occupier and the factory manager are subject to a variety of obligations, duties, and responsibilities under it. Court rulings and amendments to the Act have broadened the scope of an occupier's role, especially concerning hazardous processes in factories.
The primary objectives of the Act are:
- Regulation of factory working conditions
- Regulate annual leave provisions
- Regulations regarding health
- Ensure safety
- To make special provisions for children, women, and young workers
Penalties for Offenses under the Act
In the case of violation of The Factories Act, 1948, or any rules made under the Act, the individual may be punished as follows:-
- Imprisonment for a period of one year
- Up to one lakh rupees as a fine
- or both
Moreover, an employee may be penalized with Rs. 500/- if he misuses an appliance related to safety, or the health of workers, or in relation to performing his duties.
What is Maharashtra Factories Rules, 1963?
The Factories Act has ensured several elements about occupational safety & security, along with the health and welfare of the workers. The Maharashtra Factories Rules, 1963 are the rules that the state of Maharashtra has adopted as per this Act.
It comprises of 9 chapters and 32 forms of which 5 are omitted. The following list gives us a brief insight into the provisions it consists of:
- Chapter I: Title description, definitions
- Chapter II: The Inspecting staff
- Chapter III: Health
- Chapter IV: Safety
- Chapter IVA
- Chapter V: facilities and amenities to workers including women
- Chapter VI: Working Hours of Adults
- Chapter VII: Employment of Young Persons
- Chapter VIII: Annual Leave with Wages
- Chapter IX: Special Provision
As is clear from the outline of the document, the Rules, 1963 lays a strong foundation for the safety and the overall wellbeing o the workers. From indicating the hours of work, employing younger individuals or children, annual leaves and wages, holidays, etc., are all covered in Rules, 1963.
Applicability of the Act
The Act applies to all factories, including those owned and operated by the state as well as the central government, where:
- There are at least 10 workers that use power for a manufacturing activity
- While 20 or more workers carry out manufacturing activity without using it
- Less than 10 workers if notified by the state government
Compliance Forms under Maharashtra Factories Rules, 1963
The Maharashtra Factories Rules, 1963 comprises of the following compliance forms:
- Form 8 - Record of Lime Washing, Painting, etc
- Form 10 - Register of Workers attending to machinery
- Form 17 - Register of Adult Workers
- Form 20 - Leave with Wages
- Form 29 - Muster Roll
- Form 30 - Accidents & Dangerous Occurences
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The important takeaways from the article are:
- Imbibing the provisions mentioned in the Act, the Maharashtra Factories Rules, 1963 lays down the essential requirements for a conducive environment in factories and industrial setups
- The Rules comprise 32 Forms of which Form 29 is the Muster Roll
- Each employer must maintain a muster roll that contains salary or wage information of all employees under the law
- In every factory, the manager is required to maintain the Form 29 - muster roll containing the following information the workers' names, their job description, the workers' daily attendance
- With an aim to keep a check on exploitation to regulate working hours, the Act encompasses a comprehensive solution for workers’ problems
- Regulating factory working conditions, regulating annual leave provisions, regulating regarding health, and ensuring safety are some of the objectives of the Act
- In case of offense, a person can be imprisoned for a period of one year, fined up to one lakh rupees, or both