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Bangladesh Introduces New Digital Labor Inspection App in Effort to Improve Working Conditions

The Bangladeshi labor inspectorate has gone digital with the launch of a new Labour Inspection Management Application (LIMA).

It marks a major move in improving the working conditions for all workers in industrial sectors in Bangladesh as, according to the country’s government, it will upgrade the collection, storage and analysis of data collected during labor inspections. The app was officially introduced this week by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

“LIMA is a milestone in the march toward digital Bangladesh and testament to the commitment of the government to ensure that every workplace is a safe workplace and that the rights of workers are respected,” state minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque said during the launch.

Roughly 250 Android tablets were distributed to the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) at the event, which will be used during inspections.

The aim of the app is to help organizations run more efficiently by combining key data gathering and management in one platform. It’s also expected to improve data accessibility and transparency by making certain information, like factory license applications and the submission of complaints, more readily available.

“The launch of LIMA marks the beginning of a new chapter for the labor inspectorate,” DIFE inspector general, Md. Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan, said. “It will make our operations more effective and thereby help to enhance the welfare and safety of working people and also improve productivity of industries. It will also help DIFE to generate a variety of reports.”

The app consists of four modules: a Factory/Establishments Database module that allows for online application of factory layout plans and licenses; a Labor Inspection module that can be used for planning inspections, collecting data and reporting (information gathered during inspections is put directly into the LIMA database, where it can be used to inform management decisions); an Occupational Safety and Health module that will be used for notification of workplace accidents; and a module used for tracking remediation work of garment factories under the National Initiative, as well as for following up on DIFE’s internal operational activities.

LIMA also contains a DIFE Complaint Box for making complaints about workplace issues either through the LIMA website or via a smartphone app.

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Poor working conditions and low wages have long been major concerns in Bangladesh, which employs roughly 4 million garment workers. And the concern was escalated when in 2013, the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh collapsed, killing more than 1,100 workers and injuring 2,500. Since the incident, 41 people have been criminally charged in connection to the collapse, including the factory owner.

The LIMA app has been supported by the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) “Improving Working Conditions in the Bangladesh Ready Made Garment Sector” program, funded by Canada, the Netherlands and the U.K.