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ILO, Bangladesh partner to improve garment safetyFriday, May 29, 2015 > 09:34:57
(The Financial Express)
Employers have teamed up with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to enhance occupational health and safety in the country's largest foreign currency-earning garment sector.
The Bangladesh Employers' Federation (BEF) and ILO Wednesday signed an agreement marking the beginning of the second phase of a two-year plan supported by ILO's Improving Working Conditions in the RMG sector project funded by Canada, the Netherlands and the UK.
Under the project, some 750,000 to 800,000 workers would gain practical skills on how to reduce workplace accidents.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, ILO Bangladesh Country Director Srinivas Reddy said, "It is vital that a culture of occupational health and safety (OHS) is developed throughout the Bangladesh RMG sector. By working closely with the Bangladesh Employers Federation, we will be able to build capacity at all levels that will benefit workers and employers alike."
"As employers, we are working closely with our partners to make workplace safety the number one priority," Tapan Chowdhury, president of BEF said.
OSH is everyone's responsibility and through the joint efforts, a large number of managers, supervisors and workers will gain a good understanding about safety issues, which affect them and what they can do to keep both themselves and their workmates safe, he added.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Md Atiqul Islam and its vice president Reaz-Bin Mahmood and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) vice president Monsoor Ahmed were, among others, present.
The first phase of the ILO-BEF collaboration saw the formation of a team of 114 master OHS trainers. During the second phase, the master trainers will head to 400 RMG factories and train 7,500 to 8,000 mid-level and line supervisors, who in turn will pass on OHS knowledge to 750,000 to 800,000 workers.
By doing so, they will help create a culture of workplace safety and implement practical measures to reduce the risk of accidents.
Master trainers have been selected by the BEF, BGMEA and BKMEA and include their own staff as well as officers from private sector companies in the RMG sector.
The initiative is also backed by the International Training Centre (ITC) of the ILO, which has helped build the capacity of master trainers to deliver the courses which use the ITC-ILO Essentials of Occupational Safety and Health (EOSH) package.
The complete EOSH course in which the master trainers have been trained comprises 25 subject areas.
As training is cascaded down to the factory floor, emphasis is placed on a smaller number of areas best reflecting local needs.
These include fire and electrical safety, dangerous substances, personal protective equipment, good housekeeping and primary health.