Specialized Labour Institution

Empower Workers, Promote Decent Work & Sustainable Development

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Way Out of Informality for Construction Workers

ILO Way Out of Informality Project: Work Improvement in Construction Enterprises and Occupational Safety & Health: 2015

The sub-regional project titled ‘Way out of Informality: Facilitating Formalisation of Informal Economy in South Asia’ covering Bangladesh, India and Nepal has started its activities in 2013. At the beginning, a series of consultations have been conducted with the ILO tripartite partners: Ministry of Labour & Employment (MOLE), Bangladesh employers’ Federation (BEF) and National Coordination Committee for Workers’ Education (NCCWE), and suggestions and recommendations were received to identify issues of informality in the Construction sector. In this regards ILO with assistance of OSHE have been working with most invaluable 04 central level Coordinators and 25 local coordinators from leading construction workers’ unions in Bangladesh.

 The main objective of the assignment is to apply fundamental elements of the ILO’s Work Improvement in Small Construction Enterprises (WISCON) manual and Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) guidelines to promote formalisation of informal construction sector enterprises.

          Project Areas:

The project location is Dhaka, Chittagong & Rajshahi Division. The project has been working with 250 enterprise selected from Dhaka (170), Chittagong (50) and Rajshahi (30) division.

         Beneficiary Group:

The project has been working with 4 (four) leading construction workers’ unions of the country named Imarat Nirmal Sromik Union Bangladesh (INSUB), Bangladesh Nirman Sromik League (BNSL), Bangladesh Building and Wood Workers Federation (BBWWF) & Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal (BJSD). The project has been covering 3000 workers, sub-contractors, supervisors, site engineers and site managers etc.

         Technical Assistance by OSHE:

OSHE has been providing technical assistance in this project in the field of OSH & Workplace improvement by developing WISCON checklist and OSH handbook for informal construction workers

  • OSHE providing trainings to coordinators and workers and sub contractors on OSH workplace improvement following WISCON checklist and OSH handbook for informal construction workers
  • This training helps coordinators and workers and sub contractors to build or upscale their capacity to make the result of project sustainable.


  • 3750 WISCON checklist printed in the project with the support of ILO
  • 1000 OSH handbook printed with the support of ILO
  • 1000 posters on Work Improvement in Construction Enterprises and Occupational Safety & Health
  • 3750 Leaflet on Work Improvement in Construction Enterprises and Occupational Safety & Health

Capacity Building of Construction Workers, Sub-Contractors, Supervisors & Site Engineers at Enterprise Level on WISCON and OSH Issues

Base Line Information on the selected Informal Construction Enterprises:

The entire assignment has been implemented focusing the construction enterprises. Following comprehensive checklist all 250 enterprises have been assessed to know the existing situation and working environment of the enterprises.

Training of Trainers & Capacity building of Workers’ Unions and Coordinators:

Three-day-long ToT on Workplace Improvement and Occupational Safety &Health was held on 19 - 21 May 2015 where 30 participants participated in from 04 construction workers’ unions named INSUB, BNSL, BBWWF & BJNSD.

List of WISCON Manual, OSH Handbook, OSH Posters & Leaflet:

Some 4000 ILO WISCON Checklists in Bangla, 1000 OSH Handbooks in Bangla, 4000 Leaflets, 1500 Posters, 230 project information boards, 500 scene tapes have been developed and printed. All the IEC materials are using in respective activities effectively and efficiently. Beneficiaries are also happy to receive the materials. During training sessions, some participants stated that these easy understandable materials contributing a lot make them aware of their workplace OSH issues.

Enterprise based informal trainings & follow-up Program:

With the cooperation of TU leaders and management representatives, the enterprise level coordinators organized 2070 informal training on WISCON & OSH and follow-up visit at construction enterprise level in Dhaka Division ( 1314 nos. in Dhaka city, Gazipur, Narayanganj & Shariatpur), 405 nos. in Chittagong, 270 nos. in Rajshahi and 81 nos. in Sirajganj. Modality of the training was informal and participatory oriented. The duration of the training was 25 to 30 minutes. Trainers discussed in each training 05 issues based on WISCON & OSH. During follow-up visit training & monitoring officers and management and TU representatives looking after the implementation of knowledge which is acquired by training and provided necessary support/clarification where needed.

Participants shared their experiences in this way that it is very difficult to manage time for informal training during working time. The new idea of training (informal training at enterprise level) is comfortable for us because we have not leave the workplace and duration of training also short. As a result, it is also easier to motivate the management making time for training.

Enterprise level formal wiscon training by OSHE & LIE trainers

As part of on-going project activities, 13 enterprise level trainings were conducted by a pool of trained trainers of LIE and OSHE in different locations of Dhaka, Chittagong and Rajshahi Divisions. Around 520 workers, sub-contractors, supervisors, site engineers were participated in the trainings.

In the training programs, the trainers mainly discussed about workplace improvement, WISCON and OSH. Resource persons also engaged from Department of Labour and Department of Inspection for Factories & Establishment (DIFE) conducted sessions on legal provisions on OSH and welfare as per Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 and its amendments. Resource persons from different construction workers’ unions broadly focused on importance of organizing, how workers can organize and role of union & workers in response to OSH initiatives.

Impact of the Project Interventions (Replication/Individual/Social/Motivational)

  • Building the capacity of the construction unions, enterprise level workers/sub-contractors, enterprise owners and engineers
  • The enterprise owners and management have been getting aware of health and safety issues at enterprises
  • Some enterprise level management are very much keen to provide the workers with PPEs and some already started providing PPEs
  • Formalizing the skills of informal construction sectors
  • The causality rate at work has been getting low gradually
  • The productivity of the construction workers has been getting better

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