Desk Report: The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have joined hands in a bid to continue the momentum of workplace safety in the garment industry of Bangladesh. An implementation agreement was signed between ILO and BGMEA on 23 January 2022 to strengthen the capacity of Safety Committees. President of BGMEA, Faruque Hassan, Chief Technical Advisor of ILO’s Improving Working Conditions in the RMG Sector Programme, George Faller, BGMEA Vice President, Md Nasir Uddin and senior officials from ILO Bangladesh were present at the signing ceremony which was held at BGMEA’s PR office in Gulshan, Dhaka.
The labour law in Bangladesh makes it mandatory for all organizations with 50 or more employees to establish Safety Committees comprising of an equal number of representatives from workers and employers. Safety Committees are tasked to implement, monitor and communicate on safety issues at workplaces. Under the deals inked with BGMEA, 700 Safety Committee members from 75 garment factories will be trained on occupational safety and health (OSH), hazard identification and risk assessment, building safety culture, management of fire accidents and COVID-19 guidelines.
These up-skilled Safety Committee members will in turn spread the awareness among roughly 50,000 workers in their respective factories. “Safety Committees bring together management and workers to help create and maintain safe and healthy working environment,” George Faller said. “These committees will prevent many workplace accidents and diseases once they are equipped with proper skills and tools, and allowed to function as per the law.” BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said, “The safety of our workers is our priority. Hence, we joined hands with the ILO to invest in strong and functional safety committees which will help our industry to overcome the safety and health crisis posed by the pandemic and mitigate other occupational risks.”