Labour Organisation asks Bangladesh government to
respond to criticisms of Factory Inspectorate set
out in CCA report
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has asked
the Bangladesh Government to respond to a report which
sets out serious inadequacies in the manning and operation
of the Factory Inspectorate - the key state body in
Bangladesh which is responsible for enforcing health
and safety law.
read more about health and safety law in Bangladesh
and its enforcement, click
The report – written and researched jointly
by the Centre for Corporate Accountability and the
Bangladesh based, Occupational Safety, Health and
Environment Foundation (OSHE) – was submitted
to the ILO's 'Committee of Experts' in August 2006
by a coalition of trade unions.The
ILO responded to the report this month.
read more about the ILO Committee of Experts, click
research report looked at the extent to which the
Factory Inspectorate was in compliance with the requirements
set out in ILO’s “Labour Inspection Convention”.
The report showed for example that:
2006, the number of employed inspectors responsible
for either health or safety in either factories
or docks was only 20
number was lower than the number of inspectors
that were employed in 1984;
decrease in the number of inspectors was in contrast
with the 67% increase in the number of registered
premises and 140% increase in the number of workers
between 1984 and 2006;
the office there are four ‘safety’
inspectors and three “health” inspectors
responsible for 11,665 premises.
Chittagong office for the last two years there
have only been three active inspectors (none of
whom undertake occupational health inspections)
responsible for 4851 premises
is no dock labour inspector for the port in Mongla.
download copy of the of the report, click here.
The report showed that in Dhaka, for example, the
region where there are the most health and safety
inspectors, a factory still only has a 1 in 729 chance
each year of receiving both an inspection relating
to “occupational health/welfare” issues
and an inspection relating to “safety”
The report also set out significant problems in training,
equipment and transport facilities.
In its response to the report, published recently,
the ILO’s ‘Committee of Experts’
asked the government to provide it with further information
on inadequacies relating to number of inspectors,
lack of training, and lack of equipment.
see ILO response, click here
David Bergman, Director of the Centre for Corporate
is a real opportunity now for the Government, with
the assistance of the ILO and donor bodies, to recognise
that the Inspectorate needs not only very significant
extra resources but also deep seated reform. Bangladesh
workers deserve an Inspectorate able and capable
of protecting their health and safety - and the
Government has an obligation to provide that protection."
Repon Chowdhury, Executive Director of Bangladesh
Occupational Safety Health and Environment Foundation
want the Government to respond positively to the
ILO response – and treat it as an opportunity
for fundamental reform of the Factory Inspectorate.
In order for the health and safety of workers to
be safeguarded, and for the ILO and Government's
'decent work' agenda to be upheld, this country
must have a proper functioning Factory Inspectorate
with an adequate number of properly trained inspectors
with sufficient equipment and resources to ensure
that health and safety law is applied. This is not
the case now. The conditions of work of many Bangaldeshi
workers are very hazardous and their right to a
health and safety workplace must not be forgotten
by this Government.”
The trade unions that submitted
the report to the ILO's Committee of Experts are:
Jatiya Sramik League, the Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra,
the Jatiya Sramik Federation Bangladesh, the Jatiyo
Sramik Jote, the Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress,
the Bangladesh Labour Federation and the Bangladesh
Jatiya Sramik Federation.
Centre for Corporate Accountability is a human rights
charity advising those bereaved from work-related
deaths, and working on issues of safety, law enforcement
and corporate accountability.