Equipment and Transport issues
When inspectors first start at the Inspectorate they
receive one months induction training at the Industrial
Relations Institute (IRI). For a number of inspectors,
even if they stay many years at the Inspectorate,
this may be the only training they are given. There
is no annual training programme.
Inspectors involved in occupational health are qualified
medical doctors; and inspectors involved in occupational
safety matters are qualified engineers – though
only at an undergraduate level. Assistant inspectors
do not though need to have any technical qualification.
The Inspectorate has no access to any other expertise
outside of the 20 inspectors employed on these issues.
There must be a real concern whether the expertise
within the Factory Inspectorate is able to deal with
the complex technologies that exist within some industries.
Officer are not well equipped. One illustration of
this lack of basic equipment is that there are very
few computers, so that inspectors have to hand-write
everything before it is then typed. By way of a further
example, there is some chemical-testing equipment
in the Chittagong office that is simply not used as
it is too heavy to carry and inspectors cannot take
it with them to factories as they do not have use
of any private transport.
Inspectors do not have access to vehicles –
and so in order to undertake inspections they have
to use public transport. The Chittagong and Dhaka
divisional offices each have a vehicle, which is only
used by the DCIs in charge of the respective offices
and are not used by any active inspectors. Most of
the inspectors we interviewed said that lack of transport
facilities hampered their ability to inspect premises.
In the Dhaka divisional office, inspectors have to
travel an average 100 km – which by public transport
would take about two to three hours – and sometimes
upto 200 km to visit a factory. Although, there is
a system to pay the public transport costs of inspectors,
no expenses are paid if the factory is within 5 km
of the divisional office. In relation to longer journeys,
although there is a system of getting back expenses,
we were told that this can be a very long-winded process.
As a result it is not uncommon for inspectors to expect
that employers will pay their expenses.
The dock labour inspectors have particular problems.
Hired vehicles are not usually allowed in the port
vicinity and in order to get from one part of the
port to another – which can involve long distances
- they have to depend upon ship stevedores. In addition,
they are unable to inspect or investigate ships which
are anchored at sea as they do not have access to
a launch vessel.
Although the Inspectorate can undertake unannounced
visits, the Inspectorate’s standard practice
is to inform employers before all inspections which
appears to be in violation of the Convention.
Due to lack of equipment, lack of training in existing
equipment, and inability to transport the equipment
that the inspectorate – inspectors do not sample
chemicals for testing. This section therefore seems
to be breached.
However, whilst it is possible for prosecutions to
take place “without previous warning”,
the practice is for inspectors to always provide them
an opportunity to rectify the situation.
stated that they face certain problems in prosecuting
cases. First they have to prosecute cases themselves
without any help from lawyers. Secondly, courts are
sometimes far away from the main office which makes
it very time-consuming having to deal with a particular
case that may be subject to many adjournments. In
addition, a new instruction has recently been circulated
that requires inspectors to get the approval of the
DCI before initiating prosecutions. One inspector
indicated that this meant that prosecutions are prevented
from happening for inappropriate reasons.