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Bangladesh govt conducts workshop on RMG safety measures
Sep '14
The Government of Bangladesh conducted a workshop titled ‘Institutional Collaboration on Strengthening Building and Fire Safety Inspection systems in the RMG Sector’, in collaboration with two International Labor Organization (ILO) initiatives—the Improving Fire and General Building Safety in Bangladesh project funded by the US Department of Labor, and the Improving Working Conditions in the RMG sector Program funded by Canada, the Netherlands and the UK.

The workshop brought together key government institutions, employers and workers’ organizations to explore areas and opportunities for more effective collaboration on building, fire and electrical safety.

Addressing the workshop, Mr. Srinivas B Reddy, ILO’s country director for Bangladesh, said, “ILO is providing support for safety in readymade garment factories by carrying out inspections and providing training.”

The director general of the Fire Service and Civil Defense department Brig. Gen. Ali Ahmed Khan said, “We have taken a lot of measures to improve fire safety but still many challenges remain such as water and equipment shortages, unregulated buildings and traffic congestion. We must take more preventative measures and increase the number of fire stations in RMG areas. We must also work in a coordinated effort to enhance coordination and ensure better enforcement of fire safety regulations.”

The Inspector General of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) Syed Ahmed said, “If we are to modernize existing legal and policy practices relating to building and fire safety inspections and approvals, it is instrumental to address the gaps and overlaps in the current legislative and policy environment. We must also put in motion a process to develop a common assessment regime that will greatly benefit the government, employers and workers of Bangladesh.”

Stakeholders from the RMG sector, which included representatives of various ministries and agencies, as well as representatives of the Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufactures and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Accord, Alliance, National Coordination Committee for Workers Education (NCCWE), and IndustriAll Bangladesh Council (IBC) also attended the workshop.

RMG is a strategic sector for the Bangladeshi economy, with an estimate of 3,500 export factories in operation, providing employment for over 4.2 million workers. (GK)

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