As factories reopen, ILO calls for safer workplace

As Bangladesh eased lockdown restrictions to allow factories to reopen, the International Labour Organization has urged governments across the world to take action to prevent and control Covid-19 in the workplace.

All employers need to carry out risk assessments and ensure their workplaces meet strict occupational safety and health criteria beforehand, to minimise the risk to workers of exposure to the novel coronavirus, the ILO said.

"Without such controls, countries face the very real risk of a resurgence of the virus. Putting in place the necessary measures will minimise the risk of a second wave of contagion contracted at the workplace."

The statement from the ILO came as at least 1,820 factories reopened in Bangladesh on Monday, a day after another 1,427 export-oriented units resumed production.

"Ultimately, the well-being of our communities and our economies depends on how well we protect our workers," said ILO Bangladesh Country Director Tuomo Poutiainen.

 The ILO has developed a three-pronged strategy to ensure a safer return to work.

 The first step is the adoption of several safety and health measures at work based on dialogue between employers and workers, and a shared understanding of coronavirus risks.

 To prevent transmission of the virus and safeguard workers, the ILO has developed Covid-19 specific occupational safety and health  guidelines, together with the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments.

 Furthermore, the ILO is recommending employment retention through work-sharing and reskilling and essential social protection measures to ensure access to subsistence allowance, basic healthcare and income security for formal and informal sector workers.


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