Compliance with health and safety standards is an important issue. Worker safety is very important in readymade garment (RMG) industry. Especially in Bangladesh, garment industry always suffering several devastating accident. Fire is a common problem in readymade garment industry. Bangladesh has more than 4,500 RMG factories that employed more than four million workers. The reason behind this readymade industry concentration in Bangladesh is chief labor cost. But the worker safety issue is very poorly maintained here due to inadequate follow-up.
Worker safety is taking protective measures to save workers from the danger of industrial accidents. An accident is always unplanned action. But by taking proper worker safety measures and training we can protect workers from several avoidable accidents. To comply Section 62 of the 2006 Bangladesh Labor Law, following measures need to maintain in ready made garments industry to ensure the safety working condition:
- Building construction, safety equipment arrangement, utilities facilities, furniture settings, etc. within the building, must strictly follow the fire codes to meet safety regulations and guidelines.
- Buildings, including extensions to the factory, must be in accordance with legal standards and electrical equipment should be properly maintained time to time.
- Ensure an alternative exit with a stair connecting all the floors of the factory building and size of stairways and exits must be adequate.
- Exit routes must be sufficient for the number of workers employed in the factory and must remain unlocked during working hours of the factory so that worker can easily escape during dander time.
- Industrial fires cause injuries and loss of life and property. Factory owner should take initiative through proper implementation of fire prevention measures.
- Factory should conduct evacuation drills in their factory buildings each year.
- All workers should receive fire worker safety training and instruction on the location and use of alarm pull boxes and use of PA system.
- Factory management should provide immediate and appropriate first aid box in each floor. A well-organized first aid system ensures quick medical treatment that can prevent the loss of many working days.
- All of the chemical materials used in production by factories are associated with several health hazards that have adverse impacts on the workers, the work environment and environment beyond the factory. So factory owner should carefully think about the environmental impacts due to chemical storage, use, disposal and total management.
- Workers should provide Eye Protection Glass to protect eye from splashing liquid chemical materials and spark during welding work. Beside this factory should install a separate industrial eye wash section to rapidly relief eye injured by chemicals or particulate.
- Review the safety situation within the factory building by an independent surveyor to ensure safety issues. Anything identified during the survey should timely solve properly workers should not suffer any loss.
Managers, supervisors and workers should be properly trained in fire and safety procedures and take responsibility for ensuring the safe exit of the building during or following an incident.
- Take a more positive action by forming safety committees to uphold safety standards for workers.
Hazardous materials need a proper storage procedure to minimize the risk of fire, explosion, serious personal injury and environmental contamination. Flammable chemical storage areas should be equipped with automatic fire extinguishing systems.
- Workers should provide gloves to protect skin from chemical exposure and face masks to protect against airborne dust and chemical particles.
- Electrical safety is very crucial as it is closely associated with fire. That’s why regular maintenance and proper electrical installation is very important. Most of the time improper electrical wiring and overloaded electricity lead to fires. Worker safety in most priority.
- Where a factory employs 1000 or more warders, there must be a qualified worker safety officer a(s) appointed to measure compliance of all the safety provisions.
- Child labor should prohibit strictly and young person or a woman should not handle heavy machinery in which is in motion. Young persons should not be allowed to work on dangerous machines.