National campaign organized to promote safety at work in Bangladesh

The campaign launched in April 2023 aims to raise awareness on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) issues and their prevention in the ready-made garment sector and other industries in Bangladesh.

ILO Photograph © ILO
The month-long campaign centred on this year's World Day for Safety and Health at Work theme, "A safe and healthy working environment is a fundamental principle and right at work" and the National OSH Day theme, "Ensure decent working environment, build smart Bangladesh” (নিশ্চিত করি শোভন কর্ম পরিবেশ, গড়ে তুলি স্মার্ট বাংলাদেশ). It was organised by the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Department of Inspections for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) with funding from Canada and the Netherlands.

"This campaign is expected to raise awareness among millions of workers, employers, and the general public," said Tuomo Poutiainen, ILO Country Director for Bangladesh. "It is critical that we all become aware of the issue and play our part in creating a culture of safety at work in the RMG industry and all other industries in Bangladesh,".

A series of 10 TV talk shows titled "OSH Icon" was broadcasted on Channel 9, featuring iconic personalities who contributed to OSH advancement in Bangladesh; a total of 10 episodes radio talk shows were broadcasted on Radio Dhoni 92.2 FM. The radio shows focused on specific OSH-related issues, including the importance of OSH, relevant policies, national plan of action, occupational diseases, accident prevention, fire safety, OSH in the formal and informal sectors, social dialogue for OSH, the role of trade unions, etc.

Five times a day, Radio Dhoni aired a series of safety-related public service announcements (PSAs). These PSAs covered five major topics: fire safety, the responsibility of the safety committee, the importance of PPE, maternity rights, and so on.

DIFE and ILO distributed six types of awareness posters on electrical safety, accident prevention, machinery safety, fire safety, the SDG target on accidents, and labour legislation to factories and key stakeholders.

A social media-based quiz competition was organised in partnership with VSO Bangladesh to target the youth generation. Participants will be able to win crests, certificates, and unique prizes at the end of the campaign.

Other campaign awareness and engagement initiatives included publications of special newspaper supplements in 25 Bangla and 5 English newspapers, OSH day rally, interaction with employee and worker associations and other stakeholders, and youth activation events across the country.

Begum Munnujan Sufian, MP, the State Minister, Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE); Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director, ILO; Md Ahsan E Elahi, Secretary, MoLE; Mikhail Shipper Ex, Secretary, MoLE; MD Nasir Uddin Ahmed, Inspector General, DIFE; Brg General Nayeem Shahidullah (Retired), Member, National Council for Industrial health and Safety; Farooq Ahmed, Secretary General and CEO, Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF); Fazle Shamim Ahsan, Director, BKMEA; Nur Kub Alam Mannan, President Jatio Sramik League are among others who participated in different TV and radio talk shows.

Some of the key campaign materials are available below: