Key concerns remain in Bangladesh RMG sector despite progress: CPD

RMG Times
বুধবার, এপ্রিল ২৬, ২০২৩
  • শেয়ার করুন

Fibre2Fashion: Though Bangladesh’s readymade garments (RMG) industry has made significant improvements in occupational safety and health (OSH) over the last decade, especially in the years after the Rana Plaza accident, concern remains due to a slight rise in accidents recently and a number of worker deaths in workplace accidents in the period after the Accord on Fire and Building Safety handed over the implementation of its program in Bangladesh to the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC), a report by the Centre for Policy Research (CPD) said.

The number of accidents in the sector was 180 in 2021, a rise from 177 in 2020.

The numbers of worker deaths in the sector due to workplace accidents in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 were 15, 10, 2 and 1 respectively. However, in 2021, the number jumped to 13.

CPD recently released the report, titled ‘Civil Society Monitoring on Occupational Safety and Health in Bangladesh’s RMG Sector’.

The Rana Plaza accident ten years ago led to the creation of the Accord and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, the two buyer-driven groups that inspected nearly 2,230 factories.

The government department of inspection for factories and establishments (DIFE), with support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), took responsibility for the rest of the 1,549 factories through the Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC).

DIFE has raised its technical and institutional capacity over the years. In fiscal 2020-21, its number of over inspections was 47,361, out of which 6,227 were in the RMG industry.

However, the number of inspections by DIFE has decreased compared to the previous fiscal, both for the overall and RMG industry, the CPD report said.

In fiscal 2021-22, DIFE conducted 43,644 inspections in factories, shops and establishments. Of these, 3,560 were in the RMG industry.

Quality of safety inspection, however, still remains a major barrier.

As of October 2022, the remediation progress of RCC for active factories remained 54 per cent, the CPD document said.

It said there is no recent update on how the Industrial Safety Unit (ISU) is conducting its activities now.

As of January 2023, RSC covered 1,828 factories and the progress rate for correction of the initial findings was 91.32 per cent in January this year.

Of its 1,828 covered factories, 500 have already completed cent per cent initial safety hazard remediation. Another 1,300 factories also have a progress rate of 91 per cent.

As the ongoing monitoring of industrial safety and OSH in the country’s RMG industry is not adequate to ensure long-term sustainability, an institutional and operational review of key monitoring authorities and initiatives needs to be carried out, the report recommended.