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(Note: The tenure of this programme ended on 1 July 2011)

Rights to Worker and Consumer Safety and Public Accountability in Bangladesh (RWCSPAB) is a project aims to ensure safety and security of women and men workers as well as public safety. It monitors activities of the government’s regulatory agencies and advocates for appropriate changes to law and policy to strengthen their capacities for public safety.

Implementing partners

We Safety and Rights Society and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) are implementing this project.


The project is being implemented at the government’s regulatory agencies e.g. Drug Administration, Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment as well as the Supreme Court and Labour Courts in Bangladesh.

Major activities

  • Conduct legal survey
  • Establish a monitoring group for each regulatory agency involving experts to advise this process
  • Prepare a preliminary ‘audit’ of each of the agencies
  • Monitor a select number of regulatory agencies to see the progress of any legal action initiated
  • Undertake discussions, advocacy and lobbying for strengthening public accountability of these agencies

Direct beneficiaries

Women and men workers in formal sector e.g. in garments, pharmaceuticals, as well as in the informal sector, e.g. construction, women and men and children consumers, particularly poor and marginal communities including indigenous people.

Indirect beneficiaries

Civil society bodies working for this project, government’s regulatory agencies, parliamentarians and local government officials by improving their own functioning and capacity under this project.

How will this project promote gender equality

The project aims to promote and protect women’s and men’s rights to safety and security in the workplace and target the regulatory agencies capacity to advance gender equality through highlighting the specific issues addressing women workers safety and security.

Yearly Report/Annual Report on RWCSPAB
Prepared By
Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust-BLAST

Project title: Right to Worker and Consumer Safety and Public Accountability in Bangladesh (RWCSAB)

Implemented by: Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST)

YMCA Development Centre, 1/1 Pioneer Road, Kakrail, Dhaka-1000

Tel: 8313689, 9349125, Fax: 9347107

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Web:

Reporting Period: February 2010 – January 2011

Funded by: AUSAID

1. Introduction

It is obvious that everyday many people die at workplace accidents in Bangladesh. Safety and Rights survey says that a total of 383 workers died in only workplace accidents that reported in the daily newspapers in 2010 though the media cover only a tip of an ice berg. On the other, everyday people take unacceptable risks from the food they eat, the goods they purchase, the transport they use. In fact, people are not secured in any place or with any work. It is far away to get  minimum safety for workers and public as well.

This project has planned to increase safety and security through effective functioning of regulatory bodies and access to justice for poor women, men and children in Bangladesh, through provision of legal services including individual and strategic legal aid, and advocacy for law and policy reform.

The project has conducted a comprehensive study on regulatory bodies and has organised several meetings with the authority of regulatory bodies such as Drug Administration, Inland Shipping Corporation, Consumer Rights Authority etc where the respective minister, officials and different stakeholders were present.

2. Strategic Partner Organisation

Most of the cases BLAST prefers to work with partner organisation for having synergic benefit. It is proven that utilizing the efficiency of individual organisation on individual issue helps to get the better output to reach the planned objectives. For this project BLAST has selected Safety and Rights Society as a partner for carrying out study on regulatory bodies and also some other activities like assisting in designing poster/ brochure/ website, organizing seminars/ workshops etc.

3. Activities performed during the reporting period

During the reporting period of March 2010 to January 2011 the project has carried out the following activities:

3.1 To ensure safety of the people through effective functioning of the regulatory bodies, the project has organised several Advocacy meetings, and Exchange view meetings with concern authorities.

3.1.1   Meeting on the role of drug administration to control the quality of drug uses:

BLAST has organised discussion meeting on role of drug administration to control the quality of drug uses in Dhaka on 11th August 2010, Rajshahi on 29th December 2010 and Sylhet on 31st January 2011. Assistant Director of Drug administration, Drug Super, Health Director, Leaders of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA), Doctors, Pharmacists, Drug business association, Academics, Lawyers, Journalists and civil society representative have participated the program.

The discussion has focused on health security of people, medical services, use of drug and role of the drug administration. The meeting has identified some barriers to ensure the health security of people such as lack of human resources of the Drug Administration, old drug law which is introduced in 1940.

The recommendations of the meeting include:

- the responsibility of drug association should be monitored;

- human resource for the drug administration should be increased;

- the quality of prescription should be control;

- health should be treated as fundamental rights;

- the drug administration should have intelligent branch;

- it is essential to established more testing lab;

- mobile court should be functioned properly;

- the government should be committed to control duplicate drug;

- the allocation for health should be increased;

- antibiotics should be used properly;

- law should be implemented properly;

- the seller should avoid selling drug without any prescription.

3.1.2 Meeting on Consumer Rights

BLAST and CAB Organised exchange view meeting on Consumer protection Act 2009 at Dhaka, Faridpur and Tangail 0n 31st October 2010, 29th November 2010 and 27th January 2011 respectively. Representative of FBCCI, Lawyers, Journalists, Academics, civil society participated in the meeting. Most of the participants mention that Consumer Rights Preservation Law-2009 is not followed properly. Its implementation should be ensured properly; this law should also be implemented in health sector specially for child food, Deprived consumers should have the rights for filling case directly. It was also discussed that though this law has been formulated but there is no direction for the implementation at upazila and union level, it should be well clarified and mobile court should be performed for 24 hours. Initiative for making general people aware about the law is essential.

3.1.3            Meeting on Protection of Launch Capsize : Liabilities of the Authority and Public Awareness

BLAST organised the meeting on Protection of Launch Capsize: Liabilities of the Authority and Public Awareness, in Dhaka on 5th September 2010 and Barisal on 1st December 2010. Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, Chairman of BIWTA Md. Abdul Malek Miah, DG of Department of Shipping Rear Admiral Bazlur Rahman, Justice Nizamul Huq have attended the meeting.

Participants recommended that:

-       all the drivers should be trained-up and have legal license;

-       the driver should drive carefully and over passenger taking should be avoided;

-       legal license is mandatory for the drivers;

-       launch should be checked properly before starting journey;

-       checking fitness of launches is mandatory;

-       launch owner association, see transportation and discipline force will work together to resist over taking;

-       all the river transportations would be under registration process;

-       fitness monitoring should be conducted properly;

-       number of surveyor should increase to 100 where at present is only four;

-       training for surveyor has to be provided;

-       number of human resources should increase to about 24,000 where only 8,000 is available at present;

-       dresser is needed for river dressing;

-       compensation should be ensured to the people who were died or affected

-       everyone should obey the rule of Inland Shipping Ordinance.

The reasons of the launch capsized of last 35 years also were discussed in the meeting. These include-

­       low standard of design

­       hurdle in getting registration

­       lack of Surveyor

­       overloading, etc. It should be avoided.

3.1.4 Implementation of BNBC (Bangladesh National Building Code)

BLAST has organised Exchange View meeting in collaboration with Safety and Rights Society held on 30 June 2010 at National press club on Collapse of the Building of Begunbari. It has organised another advocacy meeting in Khulna on 22 December 2010 on “Total Implementation of BNBC-2006 for Ensuring Safety of Construction Workers: Direction of HighCourt and Role to Implement.” The programme has focused on High Court Directions given against the Writ Petition no 718/08 on government failure to establish Code Enforcement Agency following BNBC, 2006.

The participants from different categories like- Advocates, Judges, Trade Union Leaders, Employer’s Reps, NGOs, Media Personnel, Civil Societies, Academics, Government Organisations, etc were present in the programme.

3.2 Identify Regulatory Bodies

To identify regulatory bodies who are dealing with workplace and public safety, a research design has been completed. This process has identified 16 regulatory bodies. Research already been completed among the different bodies, through looking at the relevant legislation and websites of the organisation, media searches and looking at research previously undertaken. A summary of each of the regulatory bodies is being prepared.

3.2.1 Legal Survey

Legal survey already been done with the regulatory bodies. A questionnaire used to collect detailed information which is not in the public domain. The questionnaire will also help to identify the strength and weakness of the regulatory body and help us to consider what is required to improve their performance.

3.3 Media Advocacy

The project has carried out media advocacy focusing sectors such as construction, drug etc. The printing media has published several reports like:

- Drug cos accused of enticing docs for sale of medicines, The Financial Express, 12 February 2011;

- Most pharma companies tempt doctors with ‘gifts’, The Daily Star, 12 February 2011;

- Most pharmaceuticals companies practice unethical drug promotion, The Independent, 12 February 2011;

- Most pharmaceuticals cos practise unethical drug promotion, The News Today, 12 February 2011;

- Occupational Hazard: Construction sites go untouched, The Daily Star, 13 April 2011;

- Cruel twist of fate: Bubbly little boy turns immobile while playing in front of under-construction house, The Daily Star, 9 February 2011;

- Deaths at building sites: Time to punish law breakers (Editorial), The Daily Star, 10 February 2011.

(published reports enclosed)

3.4 Preparation of Printing materials

A poster has been published (printed copy enclosed) in reporting period regarding how the safety of consumers and workers will be ensured, the law and the role of a regulatory body for enforcing agencies. A leaflet has been drafted (drafted copy enclosed) in the reporting period describing the project objectives including, what is safety and security, present situation, who will be benefited and how it is implemented, what is the role of a regulatory body for enforcing laws, how the safety of consumers and workers will be ensured etc.

3.5 Meeting with the partner organisation

Several meeting has been arranged with Safety and Rights Society about how the project could be implemented. A list of detailed activities was prepared along with a time-plan (Project Implementing Plan- enclosed).

4.  Challenges faced

During this period some challenges has been faced. It took time to receive the clearance from NGO Affairs Bureau. According to the procedure, NGO Affairs Bureau send the papers for clearance to the Ministry of Home Affairs and related ministries such as Ministry of Law, Justice and parliamentary affairs. So, It took long time to accomplish this. Besides this, According to the BLAST rule, it is necessary to take approval for a new project from the Board in the Board meeting. The project was approved in the meeting but we couldn’t open an account. Without NGO Affairs Bureau’s clearance we were unable to open an account Though Program activities have started but we couldn’t start the financial transaction. Finally, we have received the clearance on 12th may 2010 and circulate in BLAST’s Unit office to take proper step on this.

Another challenge was to collect information from the regulatory bodies. Some regulatory bodies have cooperated by providing required information but some authorities like Drug Administration, Department of Explosive, Electrical Inspectorate, Consumer Rights Protection Department, were very reluctant in providing information.

5. Conclusion

Workers and public safety is a very vast issue and requires continuous effort. Although, one year or 11 months is not a very long period to resolve the matter but it has worked like an wake up call. The project was able to create intrinsic demand among few regulatory bodies about how they can perform their duties efficiently and what is required for that. It has also published some reports in the media that has facilitated to raise public awareness on safety and security. Since, very few people are aware about their own safety and security, it will take time to attain minimum standard.