The new factory checklists covers building and structural safety as well as occupational safety and health, employment conditions and service issues

The new factory checklists covers building and structural safety as well as occupational safety and health, employment conditions and service issues

A new inspection checklist developed to collect information on Bangladesh ready-made garment factories marks another major step towards building a modern and transparent labour inspectorate in the country.

Previously there was no comprehensive, uniform list in use, so the new tool will help the Department of Inspections for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) obtain information in a more systematic way. It will also help DIFE leadership to make informed management decisions as well as carry out follow-up actions.

The tool has been developed by the DIFE with the support of the International Labour Organization's (ILO) ready-made garment programme funded by Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom

According to ILO programme officer Hasina Begum the data gathered by the checklist can be used to encourage or require employers to improve the factory to comply with the law.

It covers building and structural safety as well as occupational safety and health, employment conditions and service issues.

"Developed in line with the Bangladesh Labour Act and the Labour Rules it is basically a translation of the regulatory provisions into a practical tool," Begum explains. "This checklist also considers areas not explicitly covered in the law such as violence against women in the workplace and gender-based discrimination."

A paper-based checklist will initially be used, although the target is that by mid-2017 the entire process will carried out via an app which ILO is helping to develop.

Once the automated system is in place, reports will be generated through the system and it will be much easier for the DIFE to assess and act on information.

Through the DIFE, the government is working to enhance the capacity of Bangladesh labour inspectors, with the ILO helping develop improved labour inspection procedures, a strategic inspection roadmap and more effective data management systems.

In August last year a training programme was launched to give 160 Bangladeshi labour inspectors the skills needed to boost working conditions and worker safety in the country.

Bangladesh launches labour inspection training