Bangladesh: Improving Safety in the Garment Industry

In a review of the first phase of the programme , the ILO listed some of the key achievements:

  • Building and fire safety were improved. This included the inspection of 1,549 factories for structural, fire and electrical safety, the harmonization of safety standards, and support for follow-up of remedial measures.
  • The labour inspection system was strengthened. A labour inspection reform roadmap was created, a labour inspection strategy identifying priority areas and industries was developed and 239 inspectors completed a 40-day training programme.
  • Progress was made in building a culture of safety in the workplace. This included improving the legislative and policy environment and improving the capacity of government, employers’ and workers’ organizations to manage occupational safety and health (OSH) issues. More than 800,000 workers were trained on essential OSH.
  • Injured Rana Plaza victims were given support. Almost 300 survivors trained in livelihood skills, more than 3,000 given career counselling, and 66 provided psychosocial counselling.
  • In addition, the Better Work Bangladesh programme – a collaboration between the ILO and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – works with over 140 factories and more than 300,000 workers as it seeks to improve working conditions and promote competitiveness in the garment industry.

While the first phase of the initiative delivered many key achievements, the process of enhancing workplace safety in the Bangladesh garment sector must continue. For this reason a second phase has been developed to run until 2023 through the ongoing support of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

“Our common goal is for all garment factories to be safe and to develop the capacity of the Government, employers and workers alike so that international partner support is no longer needed,” said Gagan Rajbhandari, ILO Bangladesh Country Director.