Efforts to improve working conditions in Bangladesh's ready-made garment (RMG) industry have seen 125 new labour inspectors undergo training as part of an International Labour Organization (ILO) initiative.

The move is an important part of the government's commitment to improve labour standards and implement national legislation, and is being overseen with help from the ILO.

The new labour inspectors (114 male and 11 female) will be part of the Bangladesh Government's Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), and have just completed a three-week induction on inspection and occupational safety and health. The ILO's International Training Centre (ITC) in Turin, Italy has been overseeing the sessions.

Included in the course are an introduction to labour inspection and occupational safety and health (OSH), labour inspection strategies, OSH management, carrying out labour inspection visits, and accident investigation.

The ILO's 'Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment (RMG) Programme' aims to help the government enhance its inspection system.

"Training of the labour inspectors is instrumental in ensuring safety and rights of the workers," explains Tuomo Poutiainen, manager of the ILO's RMG Programme. "Training alone cannot ensure betterment of conditions unless legislative and policy changes are also made."

The three-and-a-half year initiative is funded by Canada, the Netherlands and the UK.