On the occasion of National Day on Occupational Safety and Health, Government of Bangladesh has awarded 10 apparel companies for maintaining high safety and workers’ health standards in their factories, said in a report.

State Minister of Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque handed over the ‘Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Good Practice Award’ to the representatives from Wisdom Attires, Fakir Fashion Ltd, Knit Concern Ltd, Hop Lun Apparels, Square Fashion, Snowtex Outwear, Echotex Ltd, Tarasima Apparels, Viyellatex and AKH Eco Apparels at a ceremony held on 28 April at the Krishibid Institute in Dhaka.

As Chief Guest of the event, Mujibul Haque said, “The ILO introduced World Safety Day in 2003 and since 2016 we have started observing this day in Bangladesh. Workplace accidents and injuries occur due to lack of awareness of employers and workers. Our industrial growth and productivity will increase hastily if awareness on workplace safety can be enhanced.”

The Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment,Afroza Khan said, “Our government believes that a safe and healthy workforce is the pillar of sustainable development. This year on National OSH Day, we have introduced OSH Good Practice award for the first time to recognise business owners who have made proactive efforts to ensure the welfare of employees.”

The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) under the Ministry of Labour and Employment carries out health and safety inspection in factories and industries in Bangladesh. Speaking at the event, Inspector General of DIFE, Md. Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan congratulated the award winners and reiterated DIFE’s commitment to ensuring industry compliance through inspection and monitoring.

“Knowledge and sharing of good practices is key to preventing workplace accidents and injuries. Therefore it is important that our employers and employees have a good understanding about occupational safety and health (OSH) practices. DIFE has formed an OSH unit to address structural, fire, electrical and ergonomic safety issues at workplaces. We are committed to ensuring workplace safety through enhanced and effective inspection and awareness activities.”

Gagan Rajbhandari, Officer-in-charge of ILO Bangladesh commended Bangladesh Government, DIFE, employers and workers organizations, the Fire Service, Accord and Alliance for their proactive approach in building a culture of workplace safety in Bangladesh.

“This year marks the third time OSH Day is being celebrated in Bangladesh. It is heartening to see more organizations involved and a wide range of activities taking place around the country. I sincerely hope that this momentum continues. I also express our gratitude to Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom for their continued support in improving working conditions in Bangladesh,” he added.

High Commissioner of Canada in Bangladesh Benoit Préfontaine also spoke at the event. He said, “On National OSH Day, we remember those who have lost their lives or been injured in workplace accidents. We also recognise the considerable efforts which have been made to enhance occupational safety in Bangladesh. The government of Canada is happy to support the efforts of Bangladesh as it seeks to create safe workplaces.”

General Secretary of Jatiyo Sromik League, Shirajul Islam spoke at the event as the worker representative. On behalf of employers’ organisations, President of Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF) Kamran T Rahman, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Md. Siddiqur Rahman and President of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA) AKM Salim Osman graced the ceremony.

In response to several fatal workplace accidents in 2013, the International Labour Organization (ILO) launched its Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Sector Programme in September 2013 with the support of the Governments of Canada, the Netherlands and United Kingdom.