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DIFE mulls training academy to ensure workers’ safety

  • Published at 12:48 am October 31st, 2016
State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque in a letter on August 10 asked Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain for land allocation for DIFE to establish a training academy and research centre. The issue of occupational safety and health came under the spotlight following Rana Plaza building collapse and Tazreen Fashions fire incident that raised question about the issue across the world. During a visit to the Labour and Employment Ministry, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave a directive to establish an institution and research centre to enhance workers’ capacity in order to boost productivity and ensure their safety to cope with global standard, Mujibul said in the letter. “Since there is no training institution in the country to make thousands of workers aware of occupational health and safety, we would like to set up one. We need an allocation of land to implement the prime minister’s directive on establishing an academy,” said the junior minister. Mujibul argued that if there is an OSH academy, it would help draw foreign direct investment as well as global buyers. There is a 28.31-acre unused land owned by Public Works Department located at Mohinandan Mouja under Kishorgong Upazila. The ministry has visited the area and it has been observed that it is suitable for the purpose as there are all the facilities needed for the academy. From this unused land of 28.31 acres, we would  like to get an allocation of at least 15 acres for DIFE to set up an OSH Academy and Research Center, the letter stated. “Occupational safety and health is a global concern, and Bangladesh wants to ensure workers’ safety through international standard training and awareness building initiative,” Syed Ahmed, inspector general of DIFE, told the Dhaka Tribune. “If the Housing and Public Works Ministry allocates the land, we will be able to meet the global standard requirement through establishment of an academy.” According to ILO statistics, every year there are about 31.71 industrial accidents across the globe, which kill over 6,300 workers every day. On the other hand, about 22 lakh workers die of occupational diseases. Though Bangladesh did not have specific statistics about OSH incidents, there is a presence of these types of mishaps,               according to the letter. According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, there are about 8.8 crore economic units in the country, where millions of workers are employed to produce consumers goods from raw materials. They also work for export-oriented sector including RMG, leather industry, plastic and other sectors. According to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), RMG sector employs 4.4 million workers.
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