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DOCK WORKERS (SAFETY, HEALTH AND WELFARE) ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 54 of 1986


  • Act nº 54 of 1986

Preamble

THE DOCK WORKERS (SAFETY, HEALTH AND WELFARE) ACT, 1986

[Act, No. 54 of 1986]

[7th December, 1986]

PREAMBLE

An Act to provide for the safety, health and welfare of dock workers and for matters connected therewith.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Thirty-seventh Year of the Republic of India as follows:--

Section 1. Short title, extent, commencement and application

(1) This Act may be called the Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986.

(2) It extends to the whole of India.

(3) It shall come into force on such date1as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

(4) It shall not apply to any ship of war of any nationality.

1. Came into force on 15-4-1987, vide G.S.R. 399 (E), dated 15th April, 1987.


Section 2. Definitions

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--

(a) "appropriate Government" means, in relation to any major port, the Central Government, and, in relation to any other port, the State Government;,

(b) "cargo" includes anything carried or to be carried in a ship or other vessel;

(c) "Chief Inspector" means the Chief Inspector of Dock Safety, appointed under sub-section (1) of section 3;

(d) "dock work" means any work in or within the vicinity of any port in connection with, or required for, or incidental to, the loading, unloading, movement or storage of cargoes into or from ship or other vessel, port, dock, storage place or landing place, and includes--

(i) work in connection with the preparation of ships or other vessels for receipt or discharge of cargoes or leaving port; and

(ii) chipping, painting or cleaning of any hold, lank, structure or lifting machinery or any other storage area in board the ship or in the docks;

(e) "dock worker" means a person employed or to be employed directly or by or through any agency (including a contractor) with or without knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, on dock work;

(f)? "employer", in relation to a dock worker, means the person by whom he is employed or is to be employed on dock work, whether for remuneration or not;

(g) "principal employer", in relation to a dock worker employed or to he employed by or through any agency (including a contractor), means the person in connection with those work he is employed or is to be employed by such agency;

(h) "regulation" means a regulation made under this Act.

Section 3. Inspectors

(1) The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint such person as it thinks fit to be the Chief Inspector of Dock Safety and such persons as it thinks fit to be Inspectors subordinate to the Chief Inspector for the purposes of this Act at such ports as may be specified in the notification.

(2) The Chief Inspector shall also exercise the powers of an Inspector.

(3) The Chief Inspector and all Inspectors shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

Section 4. Powers of Inspectors

An Inspector may, at any port for which he is appointed,--

(a) enter, with such assistance (if any), as he thinks fit, any ship, dock, warehouse or other premises, where any dock work is being carried on, or where he has reason to believe that any dock work is being carried on;

(b) make examination of the ship, dock, lifting machinery, cargo gear, stagings, transport equipment, warehouses or other premises, used or to be used, for any dock work;

(c) require the production of any register, muster roll or other document relating to the employment of dock workers and examine such document;

(d) take on the spot or otherwise such evidence of any person which he may deem necessary:

Provided that no person shall be compelled under this section to answer any question or give any evidence tending to incriminate himself;

(e) take copies of registers, records or other documents or portions thereof as he may consider relevant in respect of any offence which he has reason to believe has been committed or for the purpose of any inquiry;

(f) take photograph, sketch, sample, measure or record as he may consider necessary for the purpose of any examination or inquiry;

(g) hold an inquiry into the causes of any accident which he has reason (o believe was the result of the collapse or failure of lifting machinery, transport equipment, staging or non-compliance with any of the provisions of this Act or the regulations;

(h) issue show cause notice relating to the safety, health and welfare provisions arising under this Act or the regulations;

(i) prosecute, conduct or defend before any court any complaint or other proceedings arising under this Act or the regulations;

(j) exercise such other powers as may be conferred upon him by the regulations.

Section 5. Powers of Inspectors where employment of dock workers are dangerous

(1) If it appears to an Inspector that any place at which any dock work is being carried on is in such a condition that it is dangerous to life, safety or health, of dock workers, he may, in writing, serve on the owner or on the person in charge of such place an order prohibiting any dock work in such place until measures have been taken to remove the cause of the danger to his satisfaction.

(2) An Inspector serving an order under sub-section (1) shall endorse a copy to the Chief Inspector who may modify or cancel the order without waiting for an appeal.

Section 6. Facilities to be afforded to an Inspector

The owner or the person in charge of the place at which any dock work is being carried on, shall afford the Chief Inspector or the Inspector all reasonable facilities for making any entry, inspection, survey, measurement, examination or inquiry under this Act or the regulations.

Section 7. Restrictions on disclosure of information

(1) All copies of, and extracts from, registers or other records in relation to any dock work and all other information required by the Chief Inspector or an Inspector or by any one assisting him, in the course of the inspection or investigation carried out for the purposes of this Act or the regulations shall be regarded as confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person or authority unless such disclosure is for the purpose of any action or proceeding under this Act or the regulations or under any other law or unless the Chief Inspector or the Inspector considers such disclosure necessary to ensure the health, safety or welfare of any dock worker.

(2) The Chief Inspector or the Inspector shall not disclose the source of any complaint bringing to his notice a defect or breach of any legal provisions and if any visit or inspection is to be made in connection with such a complaint, he shall give no intimation to the employer that the visit is made in consequence of receipt of such a complaint:

Provided that the restrictions imposed under this sub-section shall not apply to any case where the complainant himself has expressed his willingness to have the source of the complaint disclosed.

(3) If the Chief Inspector or an Inspector or any other person referred to in subsection (1) discloses, contrary to the provisions of this section, any information as aforesaid, he shall he punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both,

Section 8. Appeal

Any person aggrieved by an order under section 5 may, within fifteen days from the date on which the order is communicated to him, prefer an appeal to the Chief Inspector or where such order is by the Chief Inspector, to such authority as may he specified by the regulations and the Chief Inspector on such authority shall, after giving the appellant an opportunity of being heard, dispose of the appeal as expeditiously as possible;--

Provided that the Chief Inspector or such authority may entertain the appeal after the expiry of the said period of fifteen days if he is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time:

Provided further that an order under section 5 shall be complied with, pending the decision of the Chief Inspector or such authority.

Section 9. Advisory Committee

(1) The appropriate Government may constitute an Advisory Committee to advise upon such matters arising out of the administration of this Act and the regulations as that Government may refer to it for advice.

(2) The members of the Advisory Committee shall be appointed by the appropriate Government and shall be of such number and chosen in such manner as may be prescribed by rules made under this Act:

Provided that the Advisory Committee shall include an equal number of members representing--

(i) the appropriate Government,

(ii) the dock workers, and

(iii) the employers of dock workers and shipping companies.

(3) The Chairman of the Advisory Committee shall be one of the members appointed to represent the appropriate Government, nominated in this behalf by that Government.

(4) The appropriate Government shall publish in the Official Gazette the names of all members of the Advisory Committee.

(5) The term of office of the members of the Advisory Committee and the manner of tilling vacancies among and the procedure to be followed in the discharge of their functions by, the members shall be such as may be prescribed by rules made under this Act.

Section 10. Power of appropriate Government to direct inquiry into cases of accidents or diseases

(1).The appropriate Government may, if it considers it expedient to do so, appoint it competent person to inquire into the causes of any accident occurring in connection with any dock work or into any cases where a disease specified by regulations as a disease connected with dock work has been or is suspected to have been contracted by dock workers and may also appoint one or more persons possessing legal or special knowledge to act as assessors in such inquiry.

(2) The person appointed to hold an inquiry under this section shall have all the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) for the purposes of enforcing the attendance of witness and compelling the production of documents and material objects and may also, so far as may he necessary for the purposes of the inquiry, exercise any of the powers of an Inspector under this Act; and every person required by the person making the inquiry to furnish any information shall be deemed to be legally bound so to do within the meaning of section 176 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

(3) The person holding the inquiry under this section shall make a report to the appropriate Government stating the causes of the accident or, as the case may be, disease and any attendant circumstances and adding any observations which he or any of the assessors may think fit to make.

(4) The procedure to be followed at inquiries under this section shall be such as the appropriate Government may prescribe by rules under section 20.

Section 11. Obligations of dock workers

(1) No dock worker shall--

(a) wilfully interfere with, or misuse, any appliance, convenience or other thing provided in connection with any dock work for the purpose of securing the health, safety and welfare of dock workers;

(b) wilfully and without reasonable cause do anything likely to endanger himself or others; and

(c) wilfully neglect to make use of any appliance, convenience or other thing provided in connection with any dock work for the purpose of securing the health, safety and welfare of dock workers.

(2) If any dock worker contravenes any of the provisions of sub-section (1), he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees, or with both.

Section 12. Power to exempt

The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, exempt from all or any of the provisions of this Act and of the regulations, or such conditions, if any, as it thinks fit--

(a) any port or place, dock, wharf, quay or similar premises, if that Government is satisfied that dock work is only occasionally carried on or the traffic is small and confined to small ships and fishing vessels at such port, dock, wharf, quay or similar premises; or

(b) any specified ship or class of ships, if that Government is satisfied, having regard to the features of such ship or ships, the nature, quantum and periodicity of dock work carried thereon and all other relevant factors, that it is necessary so to do:

Provided that the appropriate Government shall not grant exemption under this section unless it is satisfied that such exemption will not adversely affect the health, safety and welfare of dock workers.

Section 13. Protection of action taken in good faith

No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Act.

Section 14. Penalties

(1) Whoever,--

(a) wilfully obstructs an Inspector in exercise of any power conferred by or under this Act or fails to produce on demand by an Inspector any register or other documents kept in pursuance of the regulations or otherwise in connection with any dock work or conceals or prevents or attempts to prevent any person from appearing before, or being examined by, an Inspector; or

(b) unless duly authorised or in case of necessity, removes any fencing, gangway, gear, ladder, life-saving means or appliance, light, mark, stage or other thing required to be provided by, or under, the regulations; or

(c) having in case of necessity removed any such fencing, gangway, gear, ladder, life-saving means or appliance, light, mark, stage or other thing, omits to restore it at the end of the period for which its removal was necessary,

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five thousands rupees, or with both.

(2) If any person, being a person whose duty is to comply with any of the regulations, contravenes such regulations and such contravention results--

(a) in any fatal accident to a dock worker, or

(b) an accident which incapacitates a dock worker from earning his full wages for more than a fortnight,

such person shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which shall not be less than two thousand rupees in a case falling under clause (a) and five hundred rupees in a case falling under clause (b) but which may extend, in either case, to five thousand rupees, or with both, and the court may order the whole or part of the fine to be paid to the dependant of the deceased dock worker or, as the case may be, to the injured dock worker.

Explanation. --The provisions of this sub-section shall be in addition to any provi­sions which may be made under sub-section (4) of section 21.

(3) Subject to the provisions of section 11, if any dock worker contravenes any provision of this Act or the regulations imposing any duty or liability on dock workers, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with tine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both.

(4) If any person who has been convicted for an offence punishable under any of the provisions of this Act or the regulations is again convicted for an offence committed within two year of the previous conviction and involving a contravention of the same provision, he shall be punishable for each subsequent conviction with double the im­prisonment to which he would have been liable for the first contravention of such provision.