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Bangladesh's Factory Inspectorate - Training and Equipment
Bangladesh Main page
Bangladesh Inspectorate Page

Training, 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.

Inspectors 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.

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Page last updated on April 30, 2007