The OHS Initiative for Workers and Community Project organised a discussion meeting on challenges and way forward of promoting safety and health at workplace in Bangladesh on 18 November at BRAC CDM conference room in Savar, Dhaka on the occasion of Peoples Health Assembly (PHA-4).
The discussion panel was formed with the representatives of different stakeholder including workers, women’s rights activists, labour specialists, researchers and health practitioners.
California based non-profit health information and health education source Hesperian Health Guides managing editor Todd Jailer moderated the event.
OHS Initiative governing board member secretary and OSHE foundation executive director A R Chowdhury Repon conducted the first session on challenges of infrastructure of OHS in Bangladesh. During the discussion he said the present OHS infrastructure developed by the government of Bangladesh is at the primary stage in terms of workers’ welfare, health and social protection coverage though the country is moving towards more workers friendly labour laws, effective labour inspection and institutional capacity building.
OHS Initiative governing board chairman Tamanna Khan shared her experience on women in garment industry and role of gender in trainings within the country perspective at the second session. Naripokkho member Rowshon Ara joined with her to share the findings of a study on workplace gender issues in RMG industry.
Session on ‘Importance of OHS experience to health education and public health practitioners’ had been conducted by Gonoshasthya Kendra assistant director Dr. Mahjebin Chowdhury where she shared her experience of field level training on OHS for RMG workers.
OHS Initiative Project coordinator Md. Masud Parvez conducted the last session on ‘The challenges and satisfaction of organising and carrying out an OHS program at the grassroots’. While delivering his experience he also presented a short documentary video of ongoing factory-level training for RMG workers. He also shared the project achievements and challenges to overcome the barriers at factory level in RMG sector.
At the experience sharing session, A garment worker from Mirpur baesd RMG factory Missami Bitopi Group, Soma Akter, also the president of workers’ union at the factory, shared her opinion how the field level training on OHS help them confident in assessing workplace risks, taking basic safety precautions, minimising health hazards, ensuring industrial hygiene and OHS rights.
Todd Jailer, in the question-answer session opened the floor to the audience to express their opinion, views and experience. The two way discussion and question answer session grabbed much attention and interest.
In his closing remarks Todd Jailer thanked all participants to attend the program. Around 60 participants from USA, UK, India, Belgium, South Korea, Colombia, Croatia, Philippines, Nepal and Bangladesh took part in the event.