The experiences and assessments of GIZ in partnership with Western Marine Shipyard have proven that improvements are possible to strengthen the health of its workforce and the quality of working environment. By supporting WMShL to implement and attain a renowned international standard in workplace health and safety (OHSAS 18001), injury rates have dropped by 99%. Western Marine Shipyard is the first shipyard, and one of the few businesses in Bangladesh to obtain OHSAS 18001 status.
The German Health Practice Collection (GHPC), an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, selected this successful Occupational Health and Safety collaboration between GIZ and Western Marine Shipyards as a best practice in German Development Cooperation. The publication “Healthy business, healthy workers, healthy communities” was formally launched by Md. MujibulHaque (Chunnu), Hon’ble State Minister, Ministry of Labour and Employment, with presence of Syed Monjurul Islam, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping and Mr. MikailShipar, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, and other dignitaries on 27th May 2014. Healthy workplace and a healthy workforce are pivotal to ensure healthy business- this consensus came out as a critical recommendation from the seminar on occupational health and safety titled “Impact 99 percent: Together we can change” held at Ruposhi Bangla, jointly organized by Western Marine Shipyard (WMShL) and GIZ, the German Development Cooperation.
As a concrete follow up of the event, GIZ stated that in the upcoming two years it will extend support to companies willing to implement a comprehensive occupational health and safety system. While speaking as Chief Guest, the honorable State Minister Labour addressed, “Health and safety must be given the highest consideration by the Government, employers and workers in Bangladesh. What happened at Western Marine also has important lessons learned for garment factories, global retailers, Government of Bangladesh and aid agencies, as they strive to make garment factories safer.”
Syed Monjurul Islam, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, reaffirmed that this example could contribute meaningfully to the national occupational health and safety debate in Bangladesh and be applied in other business sectors. The Western Marine Shipyard Chairman, Md. Saiful Islam, told the audience: “Having been certified with an international standard in occupational health and safety allowed us to secure more ship building orders from New Zealand and Kenya”. In addition, the Managing Director, Sakhawat Hossain stressed that healthier workers also means more productive workers; “We say: if you think training and safety is expensive, try an accident.
We avoid accidents by spending money on training and safety.” Mr.MikailShipar, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment stressed “Necessary action needs be taken to ensure and enable appropriate collaborative links between occupational health and other associated activities, such as occupational safety, environmental health, environmental protection, primary and specialized health services, and social security.”