Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 (OSHWC) was introduced in Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Labour and Employment. It was re-introduced with new changes leading to withdrawal of Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020.

The Code proposes to subsume 633 provisions of 13 major labour laws into one single Code with 143 provisions. 

On recommendations by the Second National Commission on Labour, and the deliberations made in the tripartite meeting comprising of the Government, employers’ and industry representatives, it was decided to bring the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020.

The legislation intends to amalgamate, simplify and rationalise the relevant provisions of the following thirteen Central labour enactments relating to occupation, safety, health and working conditions of workers, namely:—

1. The Factories Act, 1948;

2. The Plantations Labour Act, 1951;

3. The Mines Act, 1952;

4. The Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1955;

5. The Working Journalists (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act, 1958;

6. The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961;

7. The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966;

8. The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970;

9. The Sales Promotion Employees (Condition of Service) Act, 1976;

10. The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979;

11. The Cine Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers Act, 1981;

12. The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986; and

13. The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996.

Key Highlights


The Code will apply to establishments employing at least 10 workers.  
It will apply to all mines, docks, and establishments carrying out any hazardous or life-threatening activity (may be notified by the central government).  Certain provisions of the Code, such as health and working conditions, apply to all employees. Employees include workers and all other persons earning wages for any work, including managerial, administrative, or supervisory work. 


The appropriate government can exempt any workplace or activity from the Code in case of a public emergency, disaster, or pandemic for up to a year.  Further, the state government can exempt new factories from the Code for the specified period for creating more economic activity and employment. 

Registration and license:

Establishments covered by the Code are required to register within 60 days (of the commencement of the Code) with registering officers, appointed by the central or state government.  Factories may be required to obtain a license to operate.  The Code requires those hiring workers such as beedi and cigar workers and contract labourers to obtain licenses. 

Duties of employers: 

Duties of employers include: 

(i) providing a workplace that is free from hazards, 

(ii) providing free annual health examinations in notified establishments, and 

(iii) informing relevant authorities in case any accident at the workplace leads to death or serious bodily injury to any employee.  Additional duties are prescribed for employers in factories, mines, docks, plantations, and building and construction work, including provision of a risk-free work environment, and instructing employees on safety protocols.  

Rights and duties of employees:

Duties include taking care of their own health and safety, complying with safety and health standards, and reporting unsafe work incidents to the Inspector.  Employees also have certain rights including the right to obtain information on safety and health standards from the employer. 

Work hours:

No worker will be required or allowed to work in any establishment for more than eight hours in a day.  For overtime work, workers must be paid at twice the rate of daily wages.  Prior consent of workers is required for overtime work.  Women can work past 7 pm and before 6 am, subject to any safety-related or other conditions prescribed by the government. 


Workers cannot be required to work for more than six days a week.  Further, they must receive one day of leave for every 20 days of work per year. 

Working conditions:

Working conditions will be notified by the central government.  Conditions may include hygienic work environment, clean drinking water, toilets, ventilation, and adequate lighting. 

Welfare facilities: 

Welfare facilities such as canteens, first aid boxes, and crèches, may be provided as per standards notified by the central government.  Additional facilities may be specified for factories, mines, docks, and building and construction works, such as welfare officers and temporary housing. 

The Code includes three schedules containing lists of: (i) 29 diseases that the employer is required to notify the authorities of, in case a worker contracts them, (ii) 73 safety matters that the government may regulate, and (iii) 40 industries involving hazardous processes.  The lists may be amended by the central government. 


The government can appoint inspector-cum-facilitators to conduct inspections and inquire into accidents.  They have certain additional powers in case of factories, mines, docks, and building and construction works, including: (i) reducing the number of employees working in sections of the establishment, and (ii) prohibiting work in dangerous situations. 

Advisory boards:

The central and state governments will set up Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Boards at the national and state level.  These Boards will advise the respective government on the standards, rules, and regulations to be framed under the Code. 

Safety committees:

The government may require certain establishments to constitute safety committees in case of a certain class of workers.  The committees will be composed of representatives of the employer and workers and will function as a liaison between them.  The number of representatives of workers in the committee must not be less than that of the employer. 

Technological Changes:

(i) to impart flexibility in adapting technological changes and dynamic factors, in the matters relating to health, safety, welfare and working conditions of workers;

(ii) to apply the provisions of the proposed Code for all establishments having ten or more workers, other than the establishments relating to mines and docks;

One Registration for all Establishments

(iii) to provide the concept of “one registration” for all establishments having ten or more employees. However, for the applicability of all other provisions of the Code in respect of factories, except registration, the threshold has been fixed twenty workers in a factory (with power) and forty workers (without power);


(iv) to include the journalist working in electronic media such as in e-paper establishment or in radio or in other media in the definition of “working journalists”;

Appointment Letter Mandatory:

(v) to provide for issuing of appointment letter mandatorily by the employer of an establishment to promote formalisation in employment;

Free Health Check-Ups:

(vi) to provide free of cost annual health check-ups for employees above the specified age in all or certain class of establishments by which it would be possible to detect diseases at an early stage for effective and proper treatment of the employees;

Inter-State Migrant Workers:

(vii) to make the provisions relating to Inter-State Migrant Workers applicable on the establishment in which ten or more migrant workers are employed or were employed on any day of the preceding twelve months and also provide that an Inter-State Migrant may register himself as an Inter-State Migrant Worker on the portal on the basis of self-declaration and Aadhaar;

(viii) an Inter-State Migrant Worker has been provided with the portability to avail benefits in the destination State in respect of ration and availing benefits of building and other construction worker cess;

Constitution of National Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board:

(ix) to constitute the National Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board to give recommendations to the Central Government on policy matters, relating to occupational safety, health and working conditions of workers;

(x) to constitute the State Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board at the State level to advice the State Government on such matters arising out of the administration of the proposed Code;

(xi) to make a provision for the constitution of Safety Committee by the appropriate Government in any establishment or class of establishments;

Employment of Women:

(xii) to employ women in all establishments for all types of work. They can also work at night, that is, beyond 7 PM and before 6 AM subject to the conditions relating to safety, holiday, working hours and their consent;

Common License:

(xiii) to make provision of “common license” for factory, contract labour and beedi and cigar establishments and to introduce the concept of a single all India license for a period of five years to engage the contract labour;

Monetary Penalties:

(xiv) to enable the courts to give a portion of monetary penalties up to fifty per cent. to the worker who is a victim of an accident or to the legal heirs of such victim in the case of his death;

(xv) to provide overriding powers to the Central Government to regulate general safety and health of persons residing in whole or part of India in the event of the declaration of epidemic or pandemic or disaster;

(xvi) to make provision for Social Security Fund for the welfare of unorganised workers; and

(xvii) to make provision for adjudging the penalties imposed under the Code.

The Occupational Safety, Health And Working Conditions Code 2020 – Salient Features


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