Most of the 5,206 factories inspected in the first phase have inadequate fire-fighting systems, many of those operating in rented buildings have design flaws and some do not have necessary permissions from various government agencies.
"The factory inspection has revealed that people working at the factories have a lack of safety awareness," Avijit Chowdhury, executive member of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida), told The Business Standard (TBS).
Avijit Chowdhury said they will arrange safety training for officials of every department at factories to create awareness about what to do in case of accidents including how to use fire extinguishers.
After the first phase inspection, Bida has recommended separate zones for chemical and plastic factories.
"We have also called for accepting factories manufacturing agro-processed products as small and medium-sized enterprises and providing them with a separate zone," said Avijit Chowdhury.
In July 2021, 52 workers lost their lives in a devastating fire at the Hashem Foods factory in Narayanganj. After that, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the authorities concerned to bring out the real picture of safety at industries and factories across the country.
A 24-member high-level national committee headed by PM's advisor on private industry and investment Salman F Rahman was formed to conduct site inspections of industries under the leadership of Bida.
Later, 108 teams involving a total of 1,080 people were set up to inspect the actual working environment and whether infrastructure, fire-extinguishing equipment and necessary measures have been in place to prevent accidents in factories.
Experts are working to evaluate the working environment and infrastructure of the country's industries. A total of 45,000 factories across the country have been listed for inspection.
Now it has been decided to inspect another 10,000 factories in the second phase, said Avijit Chowdhury.
As the number of compliant factories is high in the export-oriented garment industry, they are being excluded from this inspection.
Avijit Chowdhury said, "We will send our recommendations to the national committee which will make the final decision."
Govt starts inspecting Dhaka shopping malls
The government is looking into several security issues such as the fire safety systems in various shopping malls in the capital.
A Bida-led integrated team has started inspecting multi-storied shopping malls in Dhaka North and Dhaka South city corporation areas ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.
Avijit Chowdhury said that 1,072 markets in the city corporation areas had been identified for the first phase of inspection.
"The Fire Service, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk), the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, and the city corporations have listed the risky buildings and markets in Dhaka," he added.