1: The Factory Act
The Factory Act of 1969 (amended in 1972, 1975, 1979, and 1992) provides regulations for factory construction and operation, factory expansion, and safety requirements. Furthermore, the latest revision of the Act imposes strict controls on industrial pollution. The Act is administered by the Department of Industrial Works of the Ministry of Industry.
Officers of the Ministry of Industry have broad powers of inspection and are able to order a factory to close, modify or repair machinery, or to undertake necessary actions if it’s operations are endangering the public or its workers.
A factory is defined as any premise that uses machinery equivalent to five horsepower or more, or that employs seven or more workers for manufacturing, producing, assembling, packing, repairing, maintaining, testing, improving, processing, conveying, storing or destroying anything included in the classes or types of factories presently listed in the Ministerial Regulations.
The Act does not apply to factories owned or operated by government agencies for the purpose of national security or safety, except that such factories must use the procedures of the Act as guidelines for their operations.
2: Factory Licenses
Factories are divided into three categories:
The operator or a group three factory must notify the competent authorities at least 15 days before a factory test-run commences, and again 15 days before actual manufacturing begins.
Note: In general, the degree of government control required is dependent on the degree of environmental protection deemed necessary. The more likely a factory, based on its output, is to cause pollution, the more that type of factory is regulated.
The Ministry of Industry has the power to issue regulations for all of the categories regarding:
Licenses granted are valid until the end of the fifth calendar year from the year in which the business started operations, except when the factory is transferred, leased or subject to hire purchase, or if operations stop. In these cases, the license is regarded as having expired on the date of issuance of a license to the factory’s new operators, or on the date of cessation of operations.
Applications for renewal of licenses must be submitted prior to the date of expiration, along with a fee of 100,000 baht. Following submission, renewal is considered to have been extended unless there is a specific order otherwise. If the application is submitted within 60 days of the expiration date, it will be processed normally, but an additional fee of 20,000 baht will be levied. Once the expiry date is reached, an application for a renewal must be made within 60 days.
3: Factory Operations
The Ministry of Industry has the power to designate:
The Ministry may also prescribe that a factory’s products be used in certain industries or be wholly or partly exported.
If a factory in category 2 or 3 (See Section A above) stops operation for more than one year, the operator must notify the Ministry in writing within seven days of the date the one-year period has lapsed, and must inform the Ministry before restarting operations. If the operator’s factory is in category 3, he must receive written permission from the Ministry before restarting operations.
If there is an accident that causes death, injury or sickness that incapacitates a worker beyond a 72-hour period, the operator must inform the Ministry within three days from the date of the death or the lapse of the 72-hour period. If there is an accident that causes the factory to stop operations for more than seven days, the operator must notify the Ministry within 10 days from the date of the accident.
Factory operators must obtain permission to remove machinery from its original place of installation to another site for temporary operations, or to move a factory to another site. Permission must also be obtained to transfer, rent, offer for hire purchase or sell a licensed factory. In these cases, the prior license is considered to have expired, and a new license must be applied for within seven days, although no fee is required. If the licensee dies, the heir or administrator of the estate must submit an application for the transfer of the license within 90 days of the date of death.
4: Factory Expansion
An application must be filed, and granted, prior to factory expansion. A fee of 100,000 baht is charged. As defined in the Act, the following undertakings constitute factory expansion:
An application must be filed within seven days of the date of the change.
5: Other Provisions
Any factory that is seriously endangering the public may be ordered to cease operations or to make specified improvements. The Minister has the authority to order removal of all or part of the plant to a location where the public will not be threatened. Officers of the Ministry of Industry have broad powers of inspection, and are authorized to issue written orders requiring a factory to cease operations, modify or repair machinery, or to undertake other remedial measures.
Issuance of either a factory establishment license or a factory operator’s license does not exempt the licensee from compliance with other central or local government requirements for carrying out a proposed industrial activity. Licenses may be suspended for violations of the Act or for failure to carry out orders issued under the Act by competent officials.
Factories established to produce and sell food and drugs must also apply for production licenses from the Ministry of Health.
Violation of certain provisions of the Act may incur penalties in the nature of a fine or imprisonment not exceeding four years. A Case Settlement Committee of three experts is appointed by the Ministry to carry out penalties for violations of the Act. If the offender is a partnership, company or other juristic entity, the directors, managers or other persons responsible for committing the offense are subject to the same punishment unless it can be proved that the offense was committed without their knowledge or consent.
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