As Covid-19 pandemic subsides, physical (on-site) inspection has become possible for the first time in almost 3 years. During past months, Ministry of Industry has announced their plan for stricter enforcement against factories, especially on such topics as the environment, safety, and waste management by introducing a set of new regulations, which will hopefully facilitate better enforcement.
On April 2022, Director-General of the Department of Industrial Works, Mr. Wanchai PHANOMCHAI, revealed in his newspaper interview that the country has already resumed its industrial expansion since there are 1,110 factories newly established during the first six months of the fiscal year 2022, with a total amount of investment capital of 56,000 million Baht. This could result in new employment of 31,330 people. New factories established are mostly in the food industry, wood products and metal products manufacturing. There are also 152 factories that have reported their expansion with investment capital increase of 41,500 million Baht which result in 37,550 new job positions. During the same period, 361 factories reported their shut down, which results in decrease in industrial investment of 21,400 million Baht and loss of 12,172 job positions. This statistic can infer the current state of recovery of Thailand economy, which was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ministry of Industry has shown its expectation that the industrial investment trend will continue to grow from April 2022 because the COVID-19 situation has begun to calm down. In addition, Thailand government has taken measures to support investment, economic stimulus and fiscal measures. It is expected that the number of new factories and factory expansions throughout this year should grow no less than last year with an assumption of limited impact from the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Recent and Future development of new regulations
Law enforcement is one of the most important missions of Department of Industrial Works (DIW) in fiscal year 2022. In order to facilitate stricter legal enforcement, DIW has planned to make 30 new regulations relating to the environment and safety. Recently, 9 regulations came into force while 18 regulations are in the process of making: for example, increasing penalties for illegal dumping of waste or wastewater without treatment, mandatory risk assessment reports for high-risk factories, displaying factory information in front of the factory using QR code, etc. as listed below.
Recently enacted regulations
- Ministerial Regulation on Reporting of Regulation Compliance B.E. 2564 (2021)
- Ministerial Regulation on Exemption of Machinery Registration Fee B.E. 2565 (2022)
- Ministry of Industry Announcement on Effluent Standard for Sea Water Reverse Osmosis Plant B.E. 2564 (2021)
- Ministry of Industry Announcement on Safety Measure for Chemical Management in Factory B.E. 2565 (2022)
- Department of Industrial Works Announcement on Safety Standard for Opening, Safety Valve, Pipe, Connector and Other Equipment as well as Installation Approved by Department of Industrial Works B.E. 2564 (2021)
- Department of Industrial Works Announcement on Data Standard for Industrial Statistic and Related Data
- Department of Industrial Works Announcement on Criteria and Procedure and Exemption Criteria for Reimport and Reexport of Hazardous Substance Responsible by Department of Industrial Works B.E. 2564 (2021)
- Department of Industrial Works Announcement on Criteria and Procedure on Registration of Specialized Personal, Notification of Specialized Personal and Report on Safety Storage of Hazardous Substance Responsible by Department of Industrial Works B.E. 2565 (2022)
Regulations under development
- (Draft) Factory Act. (No. …) adding penalty for illegal dumping, duty after factory shut down, specific fund
- (Draft) Ministerial Regulation on
- display of factory’s basic information
- standard and measurement procedure for inspection of odor from factory
- electronic factory license
- (Draft) Ministry of Industry Announcement on
- reporting of pollutant release and transfer
- additional measures for safety operation
- control use of flare
- control of volatile organic compound released from maintenance work
- control of volatile organic compound released from storage tank
- designate type of factory that must install special equipment for report of pollution release
- list of hazardous substance (No. …)
- (Draft) Department of Industrial Works Announcement on
- consideration criteria for factories that have wastewater treatment plant to install special equipment or additional equipment
- report format for pollution release and transfer
- registration of private laboratory
- method for odor measurement using sensory test
- registration of individuals and agencies which are certified under corporate social responsibility standard.
- registration of boiler remained life assessment evaluator
Inspection activity for further enforcement
Department of Industrial Works has filed lawsuits against more than 40,000 factories that did not report receipt of waste at their factories or removal of waste from their factories , including more than 700 factories that did not compile risk assessment reports. Recently, Department of Industrial Works has implemented the “E-fully Manifest” management system for industrial waste or waste management which can completely track waste from upstream to downstream as well as be able to track trucks transporting waste or unused materials in a real-time manner.
After the “E-fully Manifest” was activated on December 1st of last year, it can be seen that more waste has entered the system. In the first 2 quarters of this year (October 2021 – March 2022), 0.79 million tons of hazardous waste, 10.8 million tons of non-hazardous waste and disposal of infectious waste under the COVID-19 epidemic situation was input to the “E-fully Manifest” system.
Infectious waste under the COVID-19 epidemic situation was a result from the Ministry of Industry’s approval of nine factories to temporarily accept infected waste as fuel in the factory’s furnaces. This encourages the ability of Thailand to properly dispose of infected waste. As a result, the capacity of infectious waste disposal in Thailand had increased to 1,150 tons per day, which is sufficient for the amount of waste produced.
Department of Industrial Works has also continued to bring in information technology to enhance services and facilitate inspections. There is a POMS system which is a 24-hour monitoring system for emissions from 359 factories covering 45 provinces across the country. The system has ability to check the emissions value using mobile phone. The electronic licensing system has been continuously under development and will soon be released reducing time and resources needed for traveling to the Ministry of Industry’s office to submit documents such as the Hazardous Substances at Single point System (HSSS), permission to take waste or unused materials out of the factory area (Sor Kor.2), and the online machinery registration system for the Green Industry Certification System Level 1-5 via online channels, which will start service from May 1st of this year. There is also a plan to develop an electronic factory licensing system to be completed within this year.
As for the new law that will allow factories not to renew their licenses in every 5years, Department of Industrial Works has recently discussed with relevant agencies and experts to appoint third party inspectors to perform the factory inspection instead of officers. It is estimated that there will soon be approximately 100–200 registered third parties, where the factory will be charged according to the type of business and the size of the factory at the rate of 5,000-20,000 Baht.
Since onset of Covid-19 many government agencies try to transform their services to online system which will facilitate social-distancing policy. After all systems under development are finished, it should reduce workload for factories in the future.