Three years after the horrific incident that left more than a thousand dead and thousands more injured, the implementation and enforcement of health and safety in the workplace is still not receiving proper attention.
In an interview with Elitsha, the Federation of Garment Workers general secretary, China Rahman said that the implementation and enforcement of health and safety standards to ensure that the Rana Plaza incident does not occur again is still a challenge. Rahman’s views are also supported by a recent study by a US-based research and advocacy group, the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights report. The report states that although there have been thousands of inspections, very few factories have actually been fixed. According to the report “out of 3,425 inspections that have taken place, only eight factories have passed final inspection.
The Rana Plaza incident is considered to be the worst ever industrial accident to hit the garment industry. Rahman said that most factories do not have any type of basic Occupational health and safety program at the moment.
The report by the Stern Center revealed that even though more than 4-billion Rands in commitments have been announced for the garment sector in Bangladesh since Rana Plaza, it is not yet clear how many of the resources are being spent or if any of the money is being applied to remediate factories. Rahman, who is also the IndustriAll Bangladesh Council (IBC) education secretary, told Elitsha that
“Bangladesh work force have little or no training and experience in OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) concepts”. The garment industry in Bangladesh employs more than 5-million people with 56% of the workforce being women.
According to Clean Clothes Campaign, Bangladesh is the second biggest garment producing country in the world after China with more than 7000 factories and the majority being outsourced.