Labour Inspectors of Bangladesh have gone digital with the introduction of a new Labour Inspection Management Application (LIMA). The application was officially launched by the State Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Md. Mujibul Haque at an event held recently at the capital’s Amari Hotel. “LIMA is a milestone in the march towards digital Bangladesh and testament to the commitment of the Government to ensure that every workplace is a safe workplace and that the rights of workers are respected,” he said during the launch.

“The launch of LIMA marks the beginning of a new chapter for the labour inspectorate,” stated the Inspector General of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), Md. Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan. “It will make our operations more effective and thereby help to enhance the welfare and safety of working people and also improve productivity of industries. It will also help DIFE to generate a variety of reports,” he further explained.

The development of LIMA has been supported by the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) ‘Improving Working Conditions in the Bangladesh Ready Made Garment Sector’ programme funded by Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. According to Snehal Soneji, Officer in Charge of the ILO, the LIMA system is much more than inspectors simply using a tablet computer instead of a pen and paper. “It represents the progress made in the reform of the labour inspectorate and the commitment of DIFE’s leadership to digitisation and transparency,” he informed.

LIMA is set to make the DIFE’s operations more effective by combining its key data gathering and management needs in one platform. It will also enhance data accessibility and transparency by making certain information available to employers and workers while facilitating day-to-day tasks such as factory license applications or the submission of complaints. Comprised of four different modules, LIMA has a Factory/Establishments Database module that allows for the online application of factory layout plans and licenses.

A Labour Inspection module is also available that is used for inspection planning, data collection and reporting. Information gathered during inspections is fed directly into the LIMA database where it can be used to inform management decisions. An Occupational Safety and Health module is used for notifications related to workplace accidents. Other LIMA modules are used for the tracking of remediation work of garment factories under the National Initiative as well as for following up on DIFE’s internal operational activities.

Additionally LIMA features a ‘DIFE Complaint Box’ that allows workers or employers to make a complaint to DIFE about workplace issues. This can be done either through the LIMA website or via a smart phone app which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. During the event, 250 android tablets were handed over to the DIFE, to be used during inspections. Industry representatives, workers organisations and development partners were also present at the event.