Health & Safety

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Occupational Safety and Health in Bangladesh

Introduction
The occupational health and safety service in Bangladesh is still in the developmental stage. Here the occupational health & safety refers mainly to needs of workers of industries or some manufacturing processes but does not completely cover all occupations of the country. The main laws related to occupational health & safety in this country is the Factory Act 1965 and the Factory Rule of 1979.

There are a number of other laws and regulations that are also

have some provisions related to occupational health and safety. These laws have provisions on occupational hygiene, occupational diseases, industrial accidents, protection of women and young persons in dangerous occupations and also cover conditions of work, working hours, welfare facilities, holidays, leave etc. But most of the laws are lacking in standard values and not specific rather general in nature.

For certain work environment factors, manufacturing process, machineries and toxic substances, certain levels or concentrations of substances in the air have been recommended by various international organization and agencies, which are considered to be safe, are implemented in the respective countries. In USA Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are referred for the permissible levels or various standard limits for working environment. In Bangladesh no such organization or agencies have been developed which could be a referral center for different standard or occupational permissible limits. As such the prevalent rules and regulations in Bangladesh are insufficient or inadequate in terms of standards and permissible limits. Moreover, the enforcement department, the department of inspection, which is poor in quantity as well quality could not effectively enforce to improve the occupational safety and health in Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, as in most countries in the west the responsibility for health and safety at work is placed on the employer, although the government has some kind of occupational health care services and safety standards. Occupational health services are provided as benefits by employers and generally are separate from other community health services. In the developing countries, many of which are undergoing rapid industrialization, the importance of occupational health is increasingly realized. It is of concern that in Bangladesh

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like other developing countries pre-existing malnutrition and a high incidence of infectious disease, however, frequently compound the problems of exposure to occupational hazards.

The labour laws in Bangladesh have been framed which requires employers to undertake corrective measures on occupational safety and health. Lack of awareness, training, noncompliances of the OSH standards by the employers, the negative involvement of the workers could not achieve the goal of providing safety and health to the workers as intended by the laws.

In Bangladesh, as in other developing nations the major considerations in industries are higher production and greater economic returns. The main economics centered on the employer’s benefit. Little importance is focused on the social costs in terms of impacts on workers, society, and the environment. The impacts are compounded by inappropriate value of life considerations, pain and suffering, opportunity costs and questions of equity. The estimates of direct economic costs and benefits are usually made keeping aside the ethical liabilities to the society as a whole. Entrepreneurs often consider the regulatory compliances and related administrative costs deterrent to productivity. As such occupational health & safety considerations remains ignored.

Time has come to consider the Occupational Health in its true spirit in a holistic way. The policy makers, legislators, employers, and all other members of the society require to understand the relationship of true social development with...
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