The Factories Act 1961: An Overview

Topics: Trade union, Occupational safety and health, Industrial unionism Pages: 6 (1861 words) Published: January 13, 2012
The Factories Act 1961 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. At the time of its passage, the Act consolidated much legislation on workplace health, safety and welfare in Great Britain. Though as of 2008 some of it remains in force, it has largely been superseded by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and regulations made under it. However, the Act continues to have a legal importance as cases of chronic workplace exposure to hazards such as industrial noise, as in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire deafness litigation,[3] or carcinogens[4] often extend back in time beyond the current legislation. Breach of the residual provisions is still a crime punishable on summary conviction in the Magistrates' Court by a fine of up to £400 or, on indictment in the Crown Court, imprisonment for up to two years and an unlimited fine.[5][6] In the event of damage arising from a breach of the Act, there may be civil liability for breach of statutory duty. Though no such liability is stipulated by the Act itself, none is excluded and the facts could be such as to give rise to a cause of action in that tort.[7] A breach not actionable in itself may be evidential towards a claim for common law negligence. In particular, a criminal conviction may be given in evidence.[8] Content

1 Background
2 Definition of "factory"
3 Health (general provisions)
4 Safety (general provisions)
5 Welfare (general provisions)
6 Health, safety and welfare (special provisions and regulations) •7 Notification and investigation of accidents and industrial diseases •8 Employment of women and young persons
9 Enforcement
10 Factories Act (Northern Ireland) 196511 Notes
12 References

The Act was the final consolidation of a line of legislation under Factory Acts that began in 1802. In particular, it consolidated the 1937 and 1959 Acts. The Acts were widely regarded as ineffective in practice. Section 14 of the 1961 Act required the guarding of all dangerous parts of machinery but a sequence of judicial decisions under the earlier Acts had restricted the scope of what was "dangerous" only to include hazards that were reasonable foreseeable \ Definition of "factory"

Section 175 of the Act defines "factory" as premises in which persons are employed in manual labour in any process for or incidental to: •Making any article or part of any article;
Altering, repairing, ornamenting, finishing, cleaning, or washing, or breaking up or demolition of any article; •Adapting any article for sale;
Slaughtering of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, asses or mules; or •In some circumstances, confinement of such animals awaiting slaughter at other premises. The Act also defines certain other specific premises as "factories" such as laundries and printing works Health (general provisions)

Sections 1 to 7 define general broad requirements for healthy factory working conditions: 1.Cleanliness;
6.Drainage of floors; and
7.Sanitary conveniences.
These provisions were repealed and superseded, as far as they applied to "workplaces", by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992[11] with effect from 1 January 1993 for new workplaces and 1 January 1996 for established workplaces.[12] There is still a potential residual scope of application to "factories" that are not "workplaces" as the definition of "workplace" is in some ways limited.[13][14] Section 10A was added by the Employment Medical Advisory Service Act 1972[15] and gives powers to the Employment Medical Advisory Service to order medical examination and supervision of employees. Section 11 gave the Minister of State, as of 2008 the minister at the Department for Work and Pensions, the power to order medical supervision though these powers have been largely superseded by powers granted to the Health and Safety Executive and other powers of the Minister to make orders by...
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