"Around 75% of fires in Bangladesh RMG factories are electrical in nature"

"Around 75% of fires in Bangladesh RMG factories are electrical in nature"

A new electrical safety training programme has launched in Bangladesh aimed at helping reduce the threat of fires in the country's ready-made garment factories. 

The training programme, taking place in Dhaka for around 315 inspectors, will build the electrical safety inspection capacity of the Bangladesh fire service, labour inspectorate and industry organisations.

Organised by the Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence Department (BFSCD), with support from the International Labour Organization's Fire and General Building Safety project funded by the US Department of Labor, sessions will be delivered by Bureau Veritas. They will help raise awareness of potential electrical safety hazards, build understanding of the design of fire detection and alarm systems, and provide a basic understanding of schematics.

According to BFSCD figures, around 75% of fires in Bangladesh RMG factories are electrical in nature.

"Electrical short circuits are the main cause of fires in the RMG sector," says Brigadier General Ali Ahmed Khan, director general of the BFSCD. "This training will better equip the fire service to reduce this risk and ensure compliance with national codes and standards on building and worker safety, not only in the RMG sector but across all industries." 

Taking place in nine batches until the end of October, each three-day training session will comprise classroom work complemented by field visits allowing the trainees to put new skills into practice in a factory environment. As part of the programme a core group of inspectors will also be trained as trainers in electrical safety.

"This training is an important element of strengthening the regulators capacity to enforce laws and rules governing workplace safety," adds Srinivas Reddy, ILO country director. "It will also reinforce collaboration between the fire service, Department of Inspections for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) and industry organisations to ensure harmonisation and a co-operative approach towards government inspection regimes. This additional capacity and collaboration should lead to safer work places and promote a culture of safety first."

The US Department of Labor-funded Improving Fire and General Building Safety in Bangladesh project aims to improve fire and building safety in the RMG sector. The ILO, working in collaboration and coordination with relevant national and international stakeholders and partners is seeking to enhance national enforcement of relevant fire and general building safety laws and regulations consistent with international labour, fire and building standards and good practices.

A number of terrorist attacks in Bangladesh in the last year has raised safety fears for foreigners travelling to, or working, in the country. Speaking to just-style recently, however, garment exporters reiterated that business continues as usual, despite tightening security and wider fears of a long-term impact on the sector.

Bangladesh insists "business as usual" despite safety fears