International Labour Organization (ILO) has urged stakeholders of the RMG industry to take measures to improve workplace safety for the sake of the next generation.
Gagan Rajbhandari, ILO officer-in-charge in Dhaka, made the call while addressing an event marking National Occupational Health and Safety Day, at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh in Dhaka on Saturday.
“It is an opportunity for you to observe such a day. ILO is always there to work with you. Improve your workplace, especially in the RMG sector, to materialize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will in turn help your next generation enjoy the benefits,” he told the program.
Rajbhandari commended the Bangladesh government, Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), and other stakeholders for their proactive role and continued efforts in ensuring workplace safety in the country.
“Bangladesh marks Occupational Safety and Health Day for the third time. It is heartening to see more and more organizations coming forward to observe this day,” the ILO official said.
“I express my sincere gratitude towards Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom for their continued support in improving workplace safety in Bangladesh.”
Addressing the event as its chief guest, State Minister for Labour and Employment Md Mujibul Haque Chunnu said: “Workplace accidents occur due mainly to a lack of safety awareness among employers and employees. Our industrial productivity will significantly increase if we can enhance awareness about the workplace safety.”
Afroza Khan, secretary to the ministry, said: “This year, for the first time ever, we have introduced the ‘Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Good Practice Award’ in an attempt to recognize the efforts of factory owners in ensuring welfare and safety of their employees.”
Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Benoit Préfontaine remembered those who lost their lives or were injured in the line of duty, in the last few years.
“On this day, we remember those who have lost their lives or been injured in workplace accidents. We also recognize the considerable efforts which have been made to enhance occupational safety in Bangladesh. The government of Canada is happy to support the efforts of Bangladesh as it seeks to create safe workplaces.”
OSH Good Practice Award
A total of 10 apparel companies received the OSH Good Practice Awards at the event for maintaining high safety and health standards at their factories.
These are Wisdom Attires, Fakir Fashion, Knit Concern, Hop Lun Apparels, Square Fashion, Snowtex Outwear, Ecotext, Tarasima Apparels, Viyellatex , and AKH Eco Apparels.
Mujibul handed over the awards to representatives of the companies.
DIFE Inspector General Md Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan congratulated the award-winning businesses and reiterated his commitment to continue to help ensure safety standards through proper inspection and monitoring processes.
“The sharing of knowledge and good practices is a key to preventing workplace accidents and injuries. Therefore, it is imperative that our employers and employees have good understanding of good occupational safety and health practices,” the official stressed.
“DIFE has formed an OSH unit to address structural, fire, electrical and ergonomic issues at workplaces. We are committed to ensuring workplace safety through our enhanced and effective inspection measures.”
Jatiyo Sromik League General Secretary Shirajul Islam, Bangladesh Employers Federation President Kamran T Rahman, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Md Siddiqur Rahman, and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association President AKM Salim Osman attended the program.
In response to several fatal workplace accidents in 2012 and 2013, the ILO launched a project, Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Sector Programme in September 2013, with the support of Canada, the Netherlands and the UK, to ensure and promote safety and security in the RMG industry in Bangladesh.