The description of a factory is given as “a building, place or vehicle that uses machinery with an engine higher than or equivalent to five horsepower, or which employs seven or more workers with or without any machine 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, and that is not owned or operated by government agencies for the purpose of national security or safety”.
Under the Factory Act B.E. 2535, the Ministry of Industry is responsible for regulating the construction, operations, expansions, issuance of licenses, and overseeing of all related matters such as pollution and safety in relation with factories in Thailand.
Depending on certain factors such as:
- the size and type of factory;
- the probability of causing pollution;
- environmental protection methods;
- the type, quality, source of origin, and ratio of raw materials to be used;
- the type of energy to be used or produced in a factory;
- the nature, type and quality of the products manufactured in the factory; and so forth,
some factory operators may need to merely notify the authorities while others would not be permitted to start any operations until a license is issued. Factories are categorised as follows:
- Small sized factories
There is no requirement for a license if you are operating a small sized factory but you must still comply with the ministerial regulations. Factories which do not cause pollution, use machinery with engine of 20 horse power or less and/or employ 20 workers or less to work in the factory are considered as small sized factories.
- Medium sized factories
Medium sized factories must notify the Ministry about the existence of the factory and can begin operating upon receiving a letter stating that the report has been acknowledged. Medium sized factories are those causing little or no pollution, with engine of machinery used being no more than 50 horsepower and/or the number of employees working at the factory not more than 50.
- Large sized factories
Large factories are required to apply for a license from the responsible government authorities prior to beginning operations due to the fact that they cause pollution or environmental hazards, use machinery with more than 50 horsepower and/or employ more than 50 workers in the factories.
The consideration period for a factory license is at a minimum of 90 days, during which time an official will drop by the factory premises for an inspection. Once issued, the license is valid for 5 years at a time and must be renewed prior to expiry.