ILO Promotes COVID-19 Free Working Environment

Advancing Decent Work and Inclusive Industrialization Programme Provided Disinfection Service & Capacity Building Training for 14 Factories in Industrial Parks in Ethiopia

Article | 16 October 2020
#COVID-19 has been registering a dire experience than the beginning in Ethiopia. As of 13 October 2020, the total confirmed cases in the country reached 85,718 with 1,305 deaths. This alarming rate of increasing cases has hampered business operations and workers mind-set negatively.

To promote COVID-19 free working environment, the International Labour Organization (ILO) together with its social partners, has been engaged in collaborative initiatives with industrial parks in creating a safer and healthier workplace against the pandemic.

With the financial fund from UNDP, the ILO - Advancing Decent Work and Inclusive Industrialization -Siraye Programme provided disinfection services for 14 factories in Bole-Lemi and Hawassa Industrial Parks as well as capacity building training to workers to promote decent working conditions in the garment and textile sector during the month of September 2020.

More than 86 disinfecting teams of which 75% women have been participated “on-the-job training” focusing on practical cleaning and disinfection skills at the premises of the two industrial parks.

“The training was enlightening, especially lessons on mixing of ingredients for the disinfection. Proper application of the ingredients is not only useful for the cleaning purposes but also for personal safety of the disinfecting person,” said a Cleaning Supervisor who attended the training at Bole-Lemi Industrial Park.

Emphasizing the importance of combining theoretical and practical training that allowed participants to exercise the theoretical knowledge they gained into practice; she further explained, “This training will also help us to conduct disinfection using internal cleaning team on regular basis”.

Why the ILO target workers in the Industrial Parks?

The nature of work process in the industrial parks especially in the garment and textile industry involves line production and circulation of several hands, which makes workers susceptible unless proper hygiene and sanitation mechanism are in place regularly.

To prevent the easy transmission of COVID-19, keeping workplaces clean and safe from the virus creates a safe working environment and contributes in building the psychological makeup and confidence of workers. Due to this fact, the ILO responds swiftly to the factories request by prioritizing disinfection and capacity building services as a short-term response.

“We tried to undertake disinfection training and activities internally reading through available materials as none of us are experts in the area. However; this training is substantial as it includes scientific approaches for the disinfection process,” said a Safety Officer, who organized this training on the factory’s side.

The training included the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to apply and precautions to be taken before, during and after disinfection. Factories were given reference materials that cover topics on how to maintain mental and physical health, conduct cleaning, sanitation, sterilization and disinfection at workplaces according to the safety officer.

A total of 331,494 Meter Square size of production floors have been disinfected in the two parks. More than 20 experts conducted the disinfection service using spray gun carriers and cleaning facilities with eco-friendly and approved anti-virus, bacteria and germ chemical spraying.

The second round of disinfection and training is planned under the program to include local as well other FDI factories outside of industry parks in Addis Ababa, Dukem, Adama/Nazret, Mekelle and Kombolcha. In parallel, the ILO in collaboration with regional partners is engaging in building the capacity of constituents in risk assessment framework, emergency and preparedness plans to install effective and sustainable prevention mechanism against COVID-19.