Enhancing Occupational Safety: The Draft Sikkim Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Rules, 2024

On 25th April 2024, the Labour Department of Sikkim took a significant step towards enhancing occupational safety and health in the state. It issued the Draft Sikkim Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Rules, 2024, a comprehensive set of guidelines aimed at safeguarding the rights and well-being of workers across various sectors.

The rules extend to the entire state of Sikkim and lay out specific requirements for employers. For instance, employers seeking registration for an unregistered establishment are required to electronically submit Form-1 with specified details, signed digitally or as required on the portal.

Furthermore, employers of factories, contract labor, building, or construction works are mandated to electronically submit Form-4 to the Registering Officer within 30 days of commencing or ceasing operations. This form should include a notice of cessation with a certificate of payment to workers and a declaration of hazard-free premises.

One of the key provisions of the rules is the requirement for every employer to provide a free annual medical examination to employees aged 40 or older, who draw wages equal to or less than the specified ceiling under the Social Security Code. This examination is to be conducted by a qualified practitioner as per Form-5, with the option for employees to avail ESIC facilities.

The rules also specify conditions relating to safety, holidays, and working hours, among other conditions to be observed by the employer relating to the employment of women. Additionally, they outline special provisions for the qualification, criteria, and manner of making an application for licensing of establishments, along with Forms, regarding Contract Labour, Inter-state Migrant Worker, Audio-Visual Workers, Beedi and Cigar Workers.

The Labour Department of Sikkim has invited objections or suggestions with respect to these draft rules. These will be taken into consideration after the expiry of forty-five days from 25th April, 2024.