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ILO, BEF ink deal on occupational safety in RMG sector
28
May '15
The Bangladesh Employers' Federation (BEF) and International Labour Organization (ILO) have signed an agreement to enhance occupational safety and health (OSH) in the Bangladesh readymade garment industry (RMG).

The agreement marks 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 that will see some 750,000 to 800,000 workers gain practical skills on how to reduce workplace accidents, the ILO said in a statement.

Speaking at the signing, ILO Bangladesh country director Srinivas Reddy said, “It is vital that a culture of occupational health and safety is built 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.”

Tapan Chowdhury, president of BEF said, “As employers we are working closely with our partners to make workplace safety the number one priority. OSH is everyone’s responsibility and through our 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.”

A first phase of the ILO-BEF collaboration saw the formation of a team of 114 master OSH trainers. During the second phase, the master trainers will head out to 400 RMG factories and train 7,500 to 8,000 midlevel and line supervisors who in turn will pass on OSH 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, Bangladesh garment manufacturers and exporters association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh knitwear exporters association (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. (SH)

Fibre2fashion News Desk – India

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