The activities of Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), Bangladesh could not expand its activities to other than the apparel industry due to reasons that include inadequate manpower and logistic support, sources say. The department is yet to begin its activities in full-swing despite necessity even more than two and half years after the up gradation of the state inspection entity, they maintain.
As a result, work place safety and many other issues in different sectors remain unsolved for long. The key objectives of upgrading the Labour Inspection Directorate to a full-fledged department was to make it more effective in dealing with workplace safety and workers' rights.
The necessity of bringing all the industrial units under inspection was considered following a series of industrial accidents especially the fire incidents including a packaging factory at Gazipur, cigarette factory at Ashulia and a chemical factory at Gazipur. Meanwhile, some 161 workers were killed and more than 200 injured in different types of accidents at the ship-breaking yards in Chittagong in last nine years - mainly due to absence of safety measures, industry insiders claimed. Inspections have been conducted only in the readymade garment sector out of more than 45 industrial sectors like jute, ship breaking, sugar, pharmaceutical, chemical, tannery, poultry, hotel, plastic, brick field, tea, bidi and match industry.