Occupational safety and health

Bangladesh labour inspectorate takes over factory safety records

Article | 30 June 2022
Bureau Veritas handed over factory safety records to Bangladesh labour inspectorate at a ceremony in Dhaka.
DHAKA (ILO News) - A handover ceremony of factory safety records from Bureau Veritas (Bangladesh) Pvt. to the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) took place on 20 June 2022.

Present at the event, Inspector General of DIFE Md Nasir Uddin Ahmed appreciated the support of ILO and Bureau Veritas in capacitating DIFE and facilitating factory safety in Bangladesh. He said, “ILO and Bureau Veritas created a platform on which DIFE will continue conducting the oversight of industrial safety in the country.”

Following the collapse of Rana Plaza factory building in April 2013, Bangladesh government’s National Initiative inspected 1,549 ready-made garment (RMG) factories. A number of those factories subsequently closed down due to a number of reasons, including non-compliances. DIFE established a specialised unit called Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) in May 2017 to oversee safety remediation work in the remaining active factories under the National Initiative.

In November 2018, ILO hired the international health and safety certification agency, Bureau Veritas (Bangladesh) Pvt. Ltd to provide engineering, case management and training support to the RCC under DIFE.

Bureau Veritas provided both theoretical and on-the-job training to DIFE engineers on monitoring safety remediation work.
For the past three and a half years, Bureau Veritas developed the capacity of 24 DIFE engineers to monitor structural, electrical and fire safety related work in these RMG factories. Bureau Veritas also conducted technical review of the factory remediation design, drawing and progress reports that were submitted to RCC for vetting. These activities were supported by the ILO’s ready-made garment (RMG) programme funded by Canada and Netherlands.

As the contract with Bureau Veritas ended on 30 June 2022, the agency formally handed over to DIFE all the reports of verification visits, training records and materials, monthly progress reports, trackers and datasheets.

Chief Technical Advisor (AI) of ILO’s RMG programme, Maurice L Brooks spoke at the handover ceremony. He said, “It is encouraging to see the progress made to improve working conditions in the ready-made garment sector. Bureau Veritas has built the capacity of DIFE and thus set the foundation for DIFE’s engagement on safety issues in other sectors. The recent industrial tragedies in the country underscore the need to replicate these safety measures in other priority sectors, including informal economies.”

As underlined in the National Plan of Action on Occupational Safety and Health, DIFE has recently established an industrial Safety Unit (ISU) with six of the engineers trained by Bureau Veritas with the support of ILO. It is envisaged that the ISU will be part of an industrial safety framework that will improve coordination among government, employers, workers’ organization and civil society on workplace safety and health.