Process of Inspection and Investigations
Every month, each inspector/assistant inspector, draws
up a plan setting out which companies s/he intends
to inspect. Once this has been approved by the Deputy
Chief Inspector, the inspector writes a letter to
the businesses informing them that they will be visited
on a particular day. The dock labour safety officer
does not draw up a list but waits until ships come
to the port.
The process by which inspection should take place
is as follows. Inspectors (medical) and inspectors
(engineering) each have their own checklist corresponding
to duties imposed upon the business in relation to
‘health’ and ‘safety’ respectively.
If a violation is identified, the inspector marks
this on the checklistand at the end of the inspection,
the employer (and worker representative) are asked
to sign this document. The inspector then writes to
the employer setting out the nature of the violations
and a time period by which the violation should be
rectified. For certain violations (i.e. those involving
bathrooms, staircases, cleanliness, electrical wiring,
machine guards, personal protective equipments) a
period of one month will be given; for other violations
(involving day care centres, ventilation systems and
lighting etc) a period of between three and six months
is given; and for violations that require construction
to take place, a period of more than six months will
be provided. After the time period has expired a follow-up
visit will take place after first informing the company
by letter or phone. If the violation still exists,
the inspector will either give more time or take a
decision to prosecute.
Our research indicates that the provision of advice
to employers about their legal obligations and about
how these can be complied with, appears to be limited.
This is shown by the following:
process of inspection seems focused on the identification
Inspectorate does not publish any advice leaflets
made by a representative of one employers organisation:
have no role to facilitate owners to follow
the laws. Many of the owners don’t have
ideas about the Factory Acts. You know many
Ready Made Garment factory owners are not
sufficiently qualified to understand the law.
I think [that the] inspectorate should play
an awareness-creating role; however the inspectorate
has no initiative to campaign among the owners
to follow the obligations under the Factory
Act and Rules.
will not find any campaign materials or any
promotional activities in order to motivate
Normally owners submit application[s] with
[the] factory lay out and other required papers
for getting licence from Inspectorate. In
most of the cases, [the] Inspectorate don’t
play any facilitating role so that the owners
can understand easily the requirements for
getting licence, instead they create a difficult
situation for the owners.”
the Inspectorate has told us that its inspectors do
provide two types of training to employers. One is
for mid-level managers which lasts for one week –
with accommodation, food etc provided by the Inspectorate.
About twenty five of these take place each month.
The other kind of training is for workers –
which take the form of short lectures and are arranged
inside the factories.
Inspectors can also investigate reported injuries.
To see what employers should report, click
There is no obligation on inspectors to investigate
deaths – but it appears to be common practice
for an investigation into a reported death and serious
injury to take place.
One of the purposes of any investigation into an injury
is to assist in the process of obtaining compensation
for an injured worker or family of a deceased worker.
CCA's research shows that very few cases result in
a compensation claim. In Dhaka labour court, between
2002-2005, there were 105 cases involving 18 separate
incidents – all but one involving a death (see
cases filed in Dhaka Division, 2002-5
of separate incidents
by June 2006
Numbers of Inspections
Due to the low number of inspectors, there is also
a low number of inspections carried out. The Inspectorate
is unable to provide us with the number of health/safety
inspections undertaken by factory inspectors. We were
however told that these inspectors undertake an average
of about 10 to 12 inspections each month. Assuming
that each inspector undertakes 12 inspections, this
would mean that in Dhaka each month, there would be
36 safety inspections and 36 health inspections and
that each year there would therefore be 432 safety
and 432 health inspections. In Chittagong, there would
be 36 health inspections per month and 432 per year
– but there would be no safety inspections.
In Dhaka, therefore, each year a factory will have
a one in 27 chance of receiving a visit from a safety
inspector and a one in 27 chance of receiving a visit
from a health inspector. This is a one in 729 chance
of receiving both a health and safety inspection.
A factory in Chittagong has a one in 11 chance of
a health inspection. It should be noted however that
about one third of these inspections are follow-up
visits and some involve licence inspections.
Moreover since a fire at the KTS garments factory
in Chittagong in February 2006 that killed 58 people,
inspectors are only inspecting garment factories;
there are no inspections being undertaken into any
other kind of factory. Even the dock inspector is
only inspecting garment factories. This is a reflection
of the very low numbers of inspectors.
In addition, in Chittagong, since 2005 there have
been no inspections into any of the 99 ship-breaking
yards – despite the notoriously poor working
conditions in these sites – because there are
not enough inspectors.