The importance of ‘safety’ in workplace cannot be undermined and with the unfortunate tragedies that have marred the reputation of Bangladesh in the past year, it has become very critical for the industry to not only apprehend the seriousness of the concerns being raised in the international media, but also change the attitude towards safety for sustainable development. “The shift has to be from safety certification to safety culture, where the thrust is not on compliance clearances but on building a work environment which is safe, healthy and happy,” says Manish Ojha, Country Manager, Asmara Bangladesh (BD).
Taking the first step to awaken the industry on safety issues, Asmara BD recently organized a workshop conducted by Rajesh Bheda Consulting (RBC) & SEEDS India in Dhaka that brought together experts in Risk Reduction & Emergency Preparedness in the Apparel Industry. Well attended by leading buyers and vendors of Asmara like Tom Tailor, Conbipel, KDS Group, Fakir Group, Standard Group, Hameem Group, Dird Group to name a few, the consultation was followed by discussions on the various components of the strategy to reach consensus on the objectives and key strategic directions. Opening the workshop, Venky Nagan, Group CEO, Asmara International observed that though Bangladesh faces safety challenges today, but over the next 24 months it has the opportunity to be a leader in safety infrastructure and systems and be a beacon for the other South Asian countries.
While addressing the gathering Claudia Landgraf, Manager Supplier Relationship, Tom Tailor Sourcing GMBH, Germany, expressed solidarity with the industry and stressed the importance of such workshops. “Inefficient group communication or lack of knowledge and proper training make it difficult for any vendor to quickly address work site emergencies, manage safety concerns and maintain proper security. This workshop will surely guide you,” she said.
The workshop’s core aim was creating awareness on preventing, mitigating and preparing for emergencies, disasters and other crises. It was stressed that risk reduction involves measures designed either to prevent hazards from creating risks or to lessen the distribution, intensity or severity of hazards. These measures include all types of mitigation works and appropriate planning. They also include vulnerability reduction measures such as awareness raising, improving community security, and relocation or protection of vulnerable populations or structures.
The program targeted three major areas: structural safety, electrical safety and fire safety. The proactive participants were happy with the learning. “The information on structural, electrical and fire safety with regard to compliance and the directions given on emergency preparedness is really useful,” said Nitin Arora, Director, KDS Group. The areas of discussion at the workshop included: Risk reduction and emergency preparedness as part of the development process; Emergency preparedness requires a multi-approach; Priority on technical assistance; To advocate the need for capacity-building in risk reduction; Develop baseline data, norms, standards, training resources; and Monitor progress in strengthening emergency preparedness programs.