The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) under the Ministry of Labour and Employment has formulated a "Guideline on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) to Prevent and Mitigate Covid-19 in the Workplace." Aim of the guideline is to curb the spread of Covid-19 infection in the workplace, said a press release.
The unwrapping ceremony of the guideline was held on Thursday at Shromo Bhaban in Dhaka.
Based on international and national labour standards, the Covid-19 OSH guideline sets out recommendations and procedures for the government, workers, employers, safety committees and all labour sector related stakeholders to plan and organise the containment of coronavirus in the workplace, the press release added.
Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment KM Abdus Salam said: "Following the directives of the Hon'ble Prime Minister, this guideline has been formulated maintaining international labour standards. Implementing this guideline in the workplace is now a challenge. We need to have effective preparations to protect the labour sector from the second wave of Covid-19 infection in the coming winter."
Speaking at the ceremony, DIFE Inspector General (Additional Secretary) Shib Nath Roy said: "In the context of Covid-19, DIFE prepared special inspection checklist as per Chapters 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Bangladesh Labour Act and we used these tools to conduct special inspection activities in the factories.This initiative helped to maintain a healthy and decent working environment in the factories during the pandemic. The collective and round-the-clock effort of DIFE inspectors and other officials have relatively curbed the spread of coronavirus in factories."
"This guideline is a milestone in ensuring health and safety in all workplaces, as it has been prepared and customized for our country's labour sectors in the light of guidance issued by the Ministry of Health, World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO)," added Shibnath Roy.
"I believe that it will be possible to prevent Covid-19 infection in the labor sector if all the concerned ministries and departments, including all the departments and agencies under the Ministry of Labor and Employment follow the measures recommended in the Covid-19 OSH guideline."
The Covid-19 OSH guideline was approved by the National Council for Industry, Health and Safety on June 9, 2020.
The recommendation of the National Council and six additional appendices were included thereafter to enrich the document. The guideline has been formulated in 100 pages to pay homage to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the "Mujib Borsho".
The International Labour Organization (ILO) provided technical assistance in preparing the Covid-19 OSH guideline.
A total of 25,000 copies of the guidelines will be distributed free of cost to workers, employers and all stakeholders in the labour sector. The guidelines will be sent to various factories through the offices of 23 Deputy Inspectors General (DIG) of DIFE.
Also present at the launching ceremony were the Secretary of the Ministry of Industries KM Ali Azam and senior officials of the Ministry of Labor and Employment and DIFE.
DIFE Deputy Inspector General (Safety) Md Kamrul Hasan, conducted the program.