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abhijit majumder (practicing company secretary)     17 May 2023

Death of workman & legal compliance under factories act,1948


The  respected fellow experts


Following are brief facts:

1. In our factory a worker  died due to electrification at the time of pressing electric switch in the course of employment.

2. Manager report  this fact to police and observed that his(deceased worker)  hand was wet while at the time of touching the switch which may be a cause of death. Manager also said this to the Investigating officer of the police.

3. The Police report does not  refer this fact and order for post mortem.

4. PM report  specifies the death was due to electrification only.

5. Under Factories Act,1948 in Form 18 owner have to inform to directorate of factories about fatal accident/death.

6. Now one  column of the Form 18 asks : "Whether accident was due to negligence of workman?"

7. As I told earlier deceased workman's hand was wet at that time (which may cause short circuit) can we call it a negligence on part of workman?





 3 Replies

T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Advocate)     17 May 2023

Your problem is to somehow protect the company's interest and not to provide any terminal benefits to the family of deceased employee.

However since you have already given statement that the employee's hands were wet while touching the electric wires, posible cause of death ws due to short circut, hence an accidental death, can be asserted in the said form. 

abhijit majumder (practicing company secretary)     17 May 2023

Thanks to Sir Kalaiselvan for reply.

Workman Compensation Act  1926 provides  in case of employee's negligence (not result in death) employer may escape compensation. As in this case the workman died we have to pay compensation at any cost.

Is my interpretation under Workman Compensation Act  1926 is correct?

Thanks  with regards


LCI Thought Leader Rajesh Tandon ( Col (Retd))     18 September 2023

In the event of a worker's death on the factory floor, the employer may be held liable for negligence under the Factories Act, 1948 and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Factories Act, 1948 imposes a duty on employers to provide a safe working environment for their employees. If the employer fails to take reasonable steps to prevent an accident, they may be held liable for negligence under Section 92 of the Factories Act.

The IPC also recognizes the crime of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, which is commonly known as "manslaughter." Section 304-A of the IPC defines manslaughter as the death of a person caused by the negligence of another person.

In the case of a worker's death on the factory floor, the employer may be charged with manslaughter if they were negligent in providing a safe working environment. However, the employer's liability may be reduced or negated if the worker's own negligence contributed to the accident.

The extent to which the worker's negligence contributed to the accident will be determined by the authorities during the investigation. If the worker's negligence was a significant factor in the accident, the employer's liability may be significantly reduced.

It is important to note that the employer's liability for a worker's death is not limited to criminal liability. The employer may also be liable to pay compensation to the worker's dependents under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923.

In conclusion, the employer's liability for a worker's death on the factory floor will depend on a number of factors, including the employer's negligence, the worker's negligence, and the applicable laws.

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