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First Industrial Safety Forum takes place in Dhaka

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The first Industrial Safety Forum (ISF) took place in Dhaka on 12 May 2022.

Organised jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), ISF brought together national safety regulators, policymakers, academics, employers, workers’ representatives, civil society members and development partners to discuss the development of a national industrial safety framework for Bangladesh.

The infrastructure and institutional preparedness for industrial safety are still at nascent stages in the country. In particular, building safety, occupational safety and health (OSH) and environmental sustainability remain outside the core activities in most industrial sectors.

The ISF aims to inspire and engage the relevant stakeholders to establish a sustainable and transparent industrial safety framework, which will act as a foundation for ensuring workplace safety in all industries across Bangladesh.

Mr Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, MP, Honourable Minister of Industries attended the forum as the Chief Guest. He noted that this first forum provided a knowledge sharing platform for the stakeholders to collaborate for ensuring safe working environment in industries.

The Special Guest of the forum, Mr Md. Ehsan-E-Elahi, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment stated that the Ministry of Labour and Employment has formed two tri-partite committees to review and amend the labour law to maintain decent workplaces and industrial safety. “For inclusive growth of the country, the government and the public bodies need to work with the employers and the civil society collaboratively”, said Mr Elahi.

Mr Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director of ILO Bangladesh said, “ISF provided a platform to discuss, engage and collaborate for improving workplace safety and health in all economic sectors across Bangladesh. We hope the recommendations and commitments shared at the forum will drive the process of developing a national industrial safety framework.”

Speaking as a Guest of Honour, Mr Ardashir Kabir, President of Bangladesh Employers’ Federation (BEF) commended the organizing of this forum and said that this helps to create synergy to work together for the common cause of raising industrial safety standards.

The other Guest of Honour, Ms Shamim Ara, Chairperson of National Coordination Committee for Workers’ Education (NCCWE) said that safety at workplaces not only keeps the workers secure but it also improves the worker-employer relationships, increases productivity, and takes the country forward.

Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Research Director of CPD set the flow of discussion of the forum in his welcome remarks and emphasized on ensuring a safety culture in industries across Bangladesh.

ISF held two technical sessions on the “Role of Public Institutions in Developing Industrial Safety Framework” and “Employers’ Role in Implementing OSH Regulations in the Industry”. Experts representing government officials, private sector and labour leaders shared their opinions at these sessions.