The government, garment makers and labour leaders have vowed to prepare an action plan on fire safety by next month to prevent any further loss of life and property in Bangladesh due to fires at factories.

In a tripartite statement of commitment, they said they committed themselves to abide by the laws, regulations and procedures to ensure fire safety at work places.

Top officials of the labour ministry, Bangladesh Employers Federation, National Coordination Committee for Workers Education, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh National Council signed the statement at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital on Tuesday.

They promised to actively develop, promote and implement a collaborative, participatory and transparent mechanism to ensure fire safety in Bangladesh, according to the statement which is available on the website of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

This is the first major unanimous commitment by the stakeholders since a deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia last November killed at least 112 garment workers.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment and the ILO office in Dhaka organised the tripartite meeting. It highlighted the necessity of combined actions to prevent similar occurrences in future.

The statement calls for implementing the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006, the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 and other instruments of the ILO relevant to the framework for occupational safety and health.

The signatories also called upon international development organisations, buyers, donor agencies and non-governmental organisations to assist them in implementing the plan, once it is made.

They requested the ILO to help them organise necessary consultation meetings and with technical support.

A source in the ILO office in Dhaka said they had brought all parties together to create a platform so that they could discuss issues, improve the labour safety standard and other conditions in factories and cooperate among themselves.

“We believe that if all the parties stick to their commitment, the number of incidents, including fire, will go down remarkably,” he told The Daily Star.

Meanwhile, the European parliament yesterday began a two-day session to discuss Bangladesh’s labour safety issues in the garment sector.

Source: The Daily Star – 17/01/2013 (http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=265510)