Shirin Akter, a ready-made garments worker at a factory owned by the Modele Group, was worried about maintaining Covid-19 health safety guidelines when she was called back to work.
How would she arrange the costly face mask, hand sanitizer or other safety gears for one-time use every day? How would she stay safe in a factory where thousands of workers work side-by-side?
But Shirin didn't have to worry a long time. Her employers have taken almost all necessary steps to protect the workers from virus infection.
"We pass the factory entrance through a disinfection process. We wash hands and our body temperature is measured. We are given free face masks also. Every time," Shirin told this correspondent.
The Modele Group took every necessary step when it came to ensuring safety of its workers and employees at its Narayanganj-based factories opened on April 26 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
With a production capacity of 3 lakh pieces of RMG per-day, Modele Group is one of the leading RMG exporters from Bangladesh. To deal with pandemic-time business, it has set up a new standard operating procedure.
The group has readjusted the layouts of the production floor, dining area, canteen as well as the work schedule in line with guidelines. Strict restrictions have been imposed on visitors while the workers also need to maintain social distancing.
"Currently half of our 10 production units are operational and 3,100 among our 10,000 office staff and workers are working in order to maintain physical distance," Arup Kumar Saha, deputy general manager (admin, human resources and compliance) of Modele Group, told The Business Standard.
According to Modele Group officials, a fully equipped medical centre with five-bed isolation facility and a medical team has been set up for suspected cases. The medical team and the cleaners are provided with standard personal protective equipment including gloves, aprons, goggles, face shields and masks.
A taskforce comprising doctors, nurse, a health and safety committee and a new participatory committee has been formed.
The group has also partnered with a local hospital for emergency cases and a designated vehicle is there to transport patients. Moreover, pregnant workers have been granted general leave.
"Our factory is being run according to the health protocols and guidelines provided by the government and the association. Based on that, we are trying to ensure the safety of workers as much as possible," said Masuduzzaman, the founding Managing Director of Modele Group.
Beyond the factory premises, the safety measures have also been extended to the workers' homes with necessary training, safety equipment and regular monitoring.
"We have formed a team to ensure door-to-door health services in the areas where our workers live. We have formed a committee of doctors and nurses to go to every door in those areas and train people on sanitization and health safety protocols," added Masuduzzaman, who is also a former vice-president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The organization has adopted a Tk5 crore-program, equivalent to $600,000, to prevent the spread of the deadly virus as well as ensure health safety and access to food.
As many as 15,000 families in Narayanganj–a coronavirus hotspot, are receiving food aid for which Tk1.5 crore has been allocated. Moreover, Modele Group volunteers are deployed to keep Narayanganj city streets clean.
Mohammad Sohel, a finishing operator at the group's factory, said, "The medical team often visit our homes to investigate our health. We are working during the pandemic, but we do not feel insecure now."