There were two goals for the trip and meetings: first, to provide a roster of 55 occupational health and safety professionals in the US, Europe and the Mideast who have offered to provide technical assistance and training pro bono to Bangladeshi organizations working to improve working conditions in the country’s garment industry; and, second, to learn from the groups what are their needs and priority projects in the field of occupational health and safety.
The organizations welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with OHS professionals around the world.
In general terms, the needs of the interviewed organizations in Bangladesh include:
• government: training for newly hired inspectors; and development of protocols and policies for effective regulatory enforcement;
• employers: training for factory level compliance personnel; development and implementation of enterprise health and safety programs; training of management members of joint health and safety committees;
• unions: training for worker members of joint health and safety committees; training and support for union health and safety coordinators;
• medical professionals: collaboration on research projects; training of medical professionals in occupational medicine; expansion of a newly created center for occupational and environmental health;
• non-governmental organizations (especially women’s organizations):development of training and educational materials for workers on key OHS topics; training and support for grassroots level health promoters.