Policymakers, safety regulators, academics, employers, and worker representatives gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for the inaugural industrial safety forum, with the goal of assuring workplace safety in all businesses across the country.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) conducted the Industrial Safety Forum (ISF) on May 12 to explore the establishment of a national industrial safety framework for Bangladesh.
The country is a crucial sourcing hub and the world's second-largest clothing exporting country, now exporting clothes to 167 countries worldwide. It has over 3,500 ready-to-wear facilities and 1,511 textile production plants, including dyeing-printing-finishing units.
Bangladesh is also beginning to emphasize its sustainable credentials, including worker health and safety, as a measure of the industry's growth following the 2013 Rana Plaza catastrophe, which killed 1,134 people.
According to the ILO, infrastructure and institutional readiness for industrial safety are still in their early phases in the nation, and building safety, occupational safety and health (OSH), and environmental sustainability remain outside the core operations in most industrial sectors.
The ISF said that its goal is to inspire and involve key stakeholders in order to develop a sustainable and transparent industrial safety framework that will serve as a basis for guaranteeing workplace safety across all sectors in Bangladesh.
According to Md. Ehsan-E-Elahi, secretary of labor and employment, the ministry has constituted two tripartite committees to evaluate and change labor legislation in order to ensure decent workplaces and industrial safety. He said that for inclusive growth in the country, the government and public agencies must collaborate with employers and civil society.
Tuomo Poutiainen, ILO Bangladesh’s country director, said that ISF gave a forum to talk, interact, and collaborate for enhancing workplace safety and health in all economic sectors across Bangladesh. They expect that the forum's ideas and commitments will drive the process of building a national industrial safety framework.
Ardashir Kabir, president of the Bangladesh Employers' Federation (BEF), said as a guest of honor at the meeting that he believes it would assist to establish synergy and for everyone to work together for the common purpose of enhancing industrial safety standards.
Ms Shamim Ara, head of the National Coordination Committee for Workers' Education (NCCWE), remarked that workplace safety not only keeps workers safe, but it also improves worker-employer relationships, promotes productivity, and propels the country forward.
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