Factories Act/Rules Fire safety


The government has made many rules and regulations related to safety. Such rules can be broadly divided into two categories as;

  1. Factory Act/rules
  2. Shops and establishment Act

Basically the acts are made by central Section 37government, based on the central government guidelines the state governments make rules .The factories act 1948 is the basic guidelines for the Karnataka Factory rules 1969. The factory act and rules, shops and establishment act , are statutory and one has to follow it strictly, if anyone is running an industry or business.
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Section 37 and 38 of factories act and sections 71 to 77 of Karnataka factory rules are relevant related to fire safety. Let’s see these acts and rules in detail. Section 37 is basically related to explosive and flammable materials, whereas section 38 is for fire prevention. You can see the extracts of these acts below.
Section 38 -The Factories Act, 1948

  1. Precautions in case of fire.—

(1) In every factory, all practicable measures shall be taken to prevent outbreak of fire and its spread, both internally and externally, and to provide and maintain—
(a) Safe means of escape for all persons in the event of a fire, and
(b) The necessary equipment and facilities for extinguishing fire.
(2) Effective measures shall be taken to ensure that in every factory all the workers are familiar with the means of escape in case of fire and have been adequately trained in the routine to be followed in such cases.
(3) The State Government may make rules, in respect of any factory or class or description of factories, requiring the measures to be adopted to give effect to the provisions of sub-sections (1) and (2).
(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (a) of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), if the Chief Inspector, having regard to the nature of the work carried on in any factory, the construction of such factory, special risk to life or safety, or any other circumstances, is of the opinion that the measures provided in the factory, whether as prescribed or not, for the purposes of clause (a) of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) are inadequate, he may, by order
in writing, require that such additional measures as he may consider reasonable and necessary, be provided in the factory before such date as is specified in the order.]
Section 37 in the Factories Act, 1948

  1. Explosive or inflammable dust, gas, etc.—

(1) Where in any factory any manufacturing process produces dust, gas, fume or vapour of such character and to such extent as to be likely to explode on ignition, all practicable measure shall be taken to prevent any such explosion by—
(a) Effective enclosure of the plant or machinery used in the process;
(b) Removal or prevention of the accumulation of such dust, gas, fume or vapour;
(c) Exclusion or effective enclosure of all possible sources of ignition.
(2) Where in any factory the plant or machinery used in a process such as is referred to in sub-section (1) is not so constructed as to withstand the probable pressure which such an explosion as aforesaid would produce, all practicable measures shall be taken to restrict the spread and effects of the explosion by the provision in the plant or machinery of chokes, baffles, vents or other effective appliances.
(3) Where any part of the plant or machinery in a factory contains any explosive or inflammable gas or vapour under pressure greater than atmospheric pressure, that part shall not be opened except in accordance with the following provisions, namely:—
(a) before the fastening of any joint of any pipe connected with the part or the fastening of the cover of any opening into the part is loosened, any flow of the gas or vapour into the part of any such pipe shall be effectively stopped by a stop-valve or other means;
(b) Before any such fastening as aforesaid is removed, all practicable measures shall be taken to reduce the pressure of the gas or vapour in the part or pipe to atmospheric pressure;
(c) where any such fastening as aforesaid has been loosened or removed effective measures shall be taken to prevent any explosive or inflammable gas or vapour from entering the part or pipe until the fastening has been secured, or the case may be, securely replaced: Provided that the provisions of this sub-section shall not apply in the case of plant or machinery installed in the open air.
(4) No plant, tank or vessel which contains or has contained any explosive or inflammable substance shall be subjected in any factory to any welding, brazing, soldering or cutting operation which involves the application of heat unless adequate measures have first been taken to remove such substance and any fumes arising therefrom or to render such substance and fumes non-explosive or non-inflammable, and no such substance shall be allowed to enter such plant, tank or vessel after any such operation until the metal has cooled sufficiently to prevent any risk of igniting the substance.
(5) The State Government may by rules exempt, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed, any factory or class or description of factories from compliance with all or any of the provisions of this section.
We will discuss Karnataka factory rules related to fire safety in our next topic
G K Bhat


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