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Bangladesh - April 20, 2022

A role model for safe workplace

Bangladesh apparel industry

Staff Correspondent: Bangladesh, the second-largest apparel exporter in the global market, has made its apparel industry a role model for the other manufacturing countries. The industry touched the breakthrough of having 155 US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified green factories as of January this year.
Bangladesh’s apparel sector is leading in green manufacturing with 46 Platinum, 95 Gold, 10 Silver and another 4 LEED-certified factory buildings. Also, 500 more factories are in the process of receiving LEED certification.
The largest trade association in the country representing the readymade garments (RMG) industry of Bangladesh-the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)-has been honored with the Green Leadership Award 2021 for its contribution to developing Bangladesh as a country of green garment factories. The award symbolizes how constantly and unitedly the industry people are working to create a safer workplace maintaining ecological protection.
Earlier, a survey report conducted by Hong Kong-based supply chain compliance solutions provider QIMA ranked Bangladesh’s garment industry second in ethical manufacturing. The industry eliminated child labor in the mid-nineties, worked (still working) hard to cope with the emerging compliances issues including timely payment of wages, safeguarding the minimum wage, overtime, hygiene at the workplace which led the industry to become a role model for ethical manufacturing.
The Labor Law was amended twice in 2013 and in 2018 and Labor Rules were promulgated in 2015 to protect rights of the laborers and ensure safety at the workplace.
On the other hand, in terms of structural, fire and electrical safety at the workplace – Bangladesh has made an exemplary improvement with help of Accord, Alliance and different national and international organizations.
The formation of a safety committee in every factory has been made mandatory and workers’ participation committee has also been made mandatory through elections. Also, a central fund has been made under the supervision of the government where garment factories are contributing $10 million of their export receipts to be used for the workers’ welfare purposes.

It is called that the Rana Plaza incident has paved the way for the Bangladesh RMG industry’s transformation in workplace safety, fire safety, structural safety and electrical safety measures. The terrible incident Rana Plaza building collapse happened nine years ago in April 24, 2013. A nine-story complex housing various textile workshops in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. It was (and remains) the worst recorded tragedy in the sector, resulting in the deaths of 1,134 people.

The awful incident -though- came like a curse for the industry as many buyers took away orders from Bangladesh for ‘poor compliance’ and for ‘severe safety concerns’, however, it was a great push to drive the industry becoming a role model for a safe and green industry across the world.

While Bangladesh apparel manufacturers have been trying hard to make their factories safe for workers and friendly for the ecology, however, some global media and worker unions-most of cases- do not highlight it rather they constantly find faults with the industry!

Undoubtedly, the hard works done by millers to improve workers and workplace safety are appraisable. At this instant, the industry needs to continue the process of improvement, and brands should stand beside as a real partner to make the millers’ initiative successful.

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