HEALTH, HYGIENE AND SAFETY ISSUES OF THE WORKERS OF BANGLADESH IN LIGHT OF THE BANGLADESH LABOR ACT, 2006

ABSTRACT The study was conducted by a group of business teachers of various educational institutions during the period of November 2014 in different areas of Bangladesh. The readymade garments have played a pioneering role in the development of industrial sector of Bangladesh. Availability of labor and quality products has made this sector as the largest export earner of the country. It has significant contribution towards the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, this sector has always been criticized for the health, hygiene and safety concern of the workers. Recent tragedy in the garments sector has made it urgent to think about the health, hygiene and safety issues of the worker working in this sector as they are moving the wheels of our economy. This study deals with the thorough investigation with the most vital health hygiene and safety issues mentioned in the Labor Act 2006 as the authors are highly interested to observe the compliance scenario of these provisions. The study found some of the provisions are partly complied such as overtime payment, drinking water facilities and so on. Most of the provisions are not complied properly; such as cleanliness, safety measure, canteen and food facilities. The study concludes that some of the provisions are complied with laws, but the overall picture is not satisfactory at all.

Keywords: Readymade garments industry, Gross domestic product, Health, Hygiene safety and Provisions.

INTRODUCTION

Health, hygiene and safety issues of the workers are a fundamental prerequisite for working in a factory. Safe workplace is a legal prerogative of the workers. Bangladesh is an emerging tiger in the world economy. In recent times, trade and business has increased significantly in terms of nature and variety in Bangladesh. Workplace health and safety, work atmosphere, worker-employer relations etc. are always changing in the diversified business area of Bangladesh. Readymade garments sector is the largest contributing sectors of Bangladesh towards the economic development of Bangladesh. However health, hygiene and safety issues of the workers working in the garments factories of Bangladesh were always a matter of concern. The importance of readymade garments sector in Bangladesh can hardly be over emphasized (Refayet, 2013). There has been a steady growth in the field of Readymade garments sector during last two decades. The Readymade garments industry enjoyed a meteoric rise from 30 enterprises in 1980 increased to about 5700. This sector accounts for 78% of country’s export earnings and contributes more than 10% to GDP. It employs 3.6 million people directly, 80% of them women (Naima, 2013).The industry has created a platform for 2.8 million women to engage in new productive role in the society and empowering them. Readymade garments sector playing a leading role to alleviate poverty through skills development and employment generation. Around 20 million people are directly and indirectly depending on this sector for their immediate livelihoods. Readymade garments sector accelerating the industrial growth and employment through exports (www.bgmea.com.bd, 2009). Readymade garments sector of Bangladesh is going through the challenges. The challenge is therefore to improve competitiveness, both in the RMG sector and economy wide and diversify exports. Garment industry in Bangladesh has been facing multidimensional problems since its establishment. Acute power crisis followed by non-tariff restriction, chronic labor unrest, lack of infrastructural facilities, inadequate supply of material and accessories, inability or lack of efforts to diversify the products and

1Md. Robiul Islam, PhD Fellow, Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance, International Islamic University Malaysia, & Assistant Professor in Accounting, Department of Business Administration, Bangladesh Islami University (on leave), Dhaka. Email: robiulbiu@gmail.com, 2=Md. Bashir Uddin, PhD Fellow, Department of Economics and Management Science, International Islamic University Malaysia. Email: bashirsiu@gmail.com, 3=Md. Rafiqul Islam, Associate, Sarwar & Associates, Dhaka, Bangladesh, E-mail: rafiqul1988@yahoo.com and 4=Neser Ahmed, Sr. Lecturer, Department of Business Administration, Sylhet

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