Factories Act 1961

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Factories Act 1961
Long title An Act to consolidate the Factories Acts, 1937 to 1959, and certain other enactments relating to the safety, health and welfare of employed persons.
Citation 9 & 10 Eliz. 2 c. 34
Introduced by David Maxwell Fyfe, 1st Earl of Kilmuir, Lord Chancellor, 28 March 1961[1]
Territorial extent England and Wales, Scotland[2]
Dates
Royal assent 22 June 1961
Commencement 1 April 1962 (1962-04-01)[2]
Repealed
Other legislation
Amended by Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
Repealed by
Relates to Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

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 Though as of 2008 some of it remains in force, it has largely been superseded by the Health and Safety at Work etc.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 £20,000 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]

Background[edit]

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.[9][10]

Definition of "factory"[edit]

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 (s. 175(2)).

Health (general provisions)[edit]

Sections 1 to 7 define general broad requirements for healthy factory working conditions:

  1. Cleanliness;
  2. Overcrowding;
  3. Temperature;
  4. Ventilation;
  5. Lighting;
  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 statutory instrument.[16]

Safety (general provisions)[edit]

Sections 12 to 39 defined specific requirements for machinery safety but many have been repealed and superseded. As of 2008, the following sections remain fully in force:

  1. Secure fencing and handrails for teagle openings and doorways;
  1. Water-sealed gasholders.

The following sections 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".

  1. Dangerous substances;
  1. Construction and maintenance of floors; and
  2. Safe means of access.

The following sections were repealed and superseded by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992 between 1 January 1993 and 1 January 1997:[17]

  1. Prime movers;
  2. Transmission machinery;
  3. Other machinery;
  4. Provisions as to unfenced machinery;
  5. Construction and maintenance of fencing;
  6. Construction and sale of machinery; and
  1. Self-acting machines.

The following sections were repealed and superseded by the Health and Safety (Young Persons) Regulations 1997 on 3 March 1997:[18]

  1. Cleaning of machinery by young persons; and
  2. Training and supervision of young persons working at dangerous machines.

The following sections were repealed and superseded by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 on 5 December 1998:[18]

  1. Hoists and lifts - general;
  1. Cranes and other lifting machines; and
  2. Chains, ropes and lifting tackle.

The following sections were repealed and superseded by the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 on 5 December 1998:[19]

  1. Hoists and lifts used for carrying persons; and
  1. Protection from dangerous fumes and lack of oxygen.

The following section was revoked and superseded by Schedule 7 of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 on 9 December 2002.

  1. Precautions with respect to explosive or inflammable dust, gas, vapour or substance.

The following sections were repealed in part and superseded by the Pressure Systems and Transportable Gas Containers Regulations 1989 on 1 July 1994:[20]

  1. Steam boilers — attachments and construction; and
  2. Steam boilers — maintenance, examination and use.

The following sections were repealed and superseded by the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 on 21 February 2000:[21]

  1. Steam boilers - restrictions on entry;
  2. Steam receivers and steam containers; and
  3. Air receivers.

Sections 40 to 52 applied to fire safety and were repealed in 1976[16] when the Fire Precautions Act 1971 was extended to require fire certificates for a wide class of works premises.[22]

Welfare (general provisions)[edit]

Sections 57 to 60 define general broad requirements for factory welfare:

  1. Supply of drinking water;
  2. Washing facilities;
  3. Accommodation for clothing; and
  4. Sitting facilities.

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".

Section 61, first aid, has been repealed,[23] as has section 62, power of minister to make regulations.[16]

Health, safety and welfare (special provisions and regulations)[edit]

Sections 63 to 79 defined many specific regulations such as forbidding eating in places where lead or arsenic was processed (s. 64), and forbidding women and young people from working at foundries with lead or zinc, or "mixing or pasting in connection with the manufacture or repair of electric accumulators" (s. 74). As of 2008, these have all been repealed and superseded by subsequent regulations save for section 69 where there is a residual power for an inspector from the Health and Safety Executive to restrict working in underground rooms in "factories" that are not "workplaces".

Notification and investigation of accidents and industrial diseases[edit]

Sections 80 to 85 specified reauirements for the statutory reporting of deaths, injuries and diseases that took place at work. As of 2008, these sections have all been repealed and superseded, especially by the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

Employment of women and young persons[edit]

Sections 86 to 116 restricted the working hours of women and young people in factories. Some exceptions were allowed such as for women in management positions (s. 95). All these sections have been repealed, either by:

Enforcement[edit]

Enforcement originally lay with District Councils (ss. 8–10, 53–56) but, as of 1974, general responsibility falls to the Health and Safety Executive though they are often able to delegate this to local authorities.[24]

Factories Act (Northern Ireland) 1965[edit]

The Factories Act 1961 did not extend to Northern Ireland, but the Parliament of Northern Ireland enacted similar provisions in its Factories Act (Northern Ireland) 1965, which consolidated earlier Acts there. As with the British Act, as of 2008 most of the provisions have been repealed and superseded by more modern legislation under the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978,[25] such as the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993.[26]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "HL Deb 28 March 1961 vol 230 cc46-7". Hansard. Millbank Systems. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  2. ^ a b S.185
  3. ^ Parkes v. Meridian Ltd [2007] EWHC B1 (QB)
  4. ^ Novartis Grimsby Ltd v. Cookson [2007] EWCA Civ 1261
  5. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s.33(3)
  6. ^ "Sentencing and costs – Penalties". Enforcement Guide. Health and Safety Executive. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  7. ^ Halsbury's Laws of England (4th edition) (2004 reissue), vol. 20(1), para. 623
  8. ^ Civil Evidence Act 1968, s.11
  9. ^ Cullen (1996)
  10. ^ Walker v. Bletchley-Flettons Ltd [1937] 1 All ER 170
  11. ^ a b c Reg.27/ Sch.2
  12. ^ a b c Reg.1
  13. ^ Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, reg.3
  14. ^ Office of Public Sector Information (1992). "Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 - Explanatory Note". Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  15. ^ S.3
  16. ^ a b c Factories Act 1961 etc (Repeals and Modifications) Regulations 1974, SI 1974/1941, reg.7/ Sch.1; Employment Act 1989
  17. ^ Regs.1(2)(3), 2, 27(1)/ Sch.2, Pt.I (with reg.27(2))
  18. ^ a b Reg.3/ Sch. Pt.1
  19. ^ Reg.15
  20. ^ reg.26/ Sch.6, Pt.I
  21. ^ Reg.18
  22. ^ Fire Precautions (Factories, Offices, Shops and Railway Premises) Regulations 1976, SI 1976/2009, revoked and superseded by SI 1989/76
  23. ^ Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, SI 1981/917, reg.7/ Sch.1
  24. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s. 18
  25. ^ SI 1978/1039 (NI 9)
  26. ^ SR 1993/37

References[edit]

  • Various authors, Tolley's Health and Safety at Work Handbook 2008 (Butterworths 2007) ISBN 0-7545-3318-2
  • Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Halsbury's Laws of England (4th edn 2004) Vol 20, "Health and Safety at Work"
  • JR Ridley and J Channing, Safety at Work (Butterworth-Heinemann 2003) ISBN 0-7506-5493-7
  • J Stranks, Health and Safety Law (5th edn Prentice Hall 2005) ISBN 0-13-197646-X
  • W Cullen, The development of safety legislation (Royal Society of Edinburgh 1996)