Factory inspection begins this month
Companies in the chemical, plastic, and food processing sectors will be given priority when safety inspections get underway in the first phase of the government's move to ensure adequate infrastructure and fire safety measures at all industrial units.
The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) will begin inspecting factories to gauge their compliance with the country's workplace safety regulations by the end of the month.
Bida will hold a day-long training session today for inspection committee members to brief them on the official process to be followed.
"It is not a drive, rather it is about creating awareness on workplace safety hazards. The inspection will not harass anyone," said Abhijit Chowdhury, executive member-1 of Bida.
According to the executive member, around 5,000 factories will be inspected in the first phase in Dhaka, Chattogram, Narayanganj, and Gazipur, where one third of the country's factories are located. The first phase of factory inspection will be run for three months.
He said 27 inspection teams consisting of 12 members each will visit the factories and hold discussions with the owners.
Chowdhury said they have set 100 questions to find out the weakness regarding infrastructure, fire safety and overall compliance.
At least two factories will be inspected per day by each team, he said.
Chowdhury further said that the inspection team would send reports based on which Bida will prepare recommendations, if any, for the factory in question.
Later, the recommendations will be forwarded to the relevant officials of both government and industrial agencies.
Following a tragic fire at the Hashem Foods factory in Narayanganj that left over 50 dead earlier this year, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) announced a 24-member committee headed by Salman F Rahman, the prime minister's adviser for private industry and investment, to help prevent such incidents in the future.
After that, the PMO ordered the relevant authorities to launch an inspection campaign across Bangladesh, appointing Bida to lead it in coordination with business associations, such as the federation of Bangladesh chambers of commerce and industries and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
Chowdhury said a total of 46,100 factories across the country will undergo safety inspections in phases.
However, he said they are yet to fix the deadline to complete the inspection.