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Protecting Garment Workers

Occupational safety and health and income support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

This German-funded project supports constituents in the garment/textile supply chain in selected countries through public and private sector collaboration. The objective is two-fold: 1) To strengthen occupational safety and health (OSH) protection measures to ensure that employers, workers and their families are protected from the direct and indirect health risks of COVID-19 and that workplaces are not negatively impacted by further outbreaks due a poor management of OSH hazards; and 2) To cushion enterprises against immediate employment and income losses and compensate workers for the loss of income due to COVID 19 by providing wage subsidies and other cash transfers; and to facilitate “back to normality” by maintaining an employment relationship.

The project also supports the practical implementation of COVID-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry, which encourages organizations endorsing the Call to Action to protect garment workers’ income, health and employment and support employers to survive during the COVID-19 crisis, and to work together to establish sustainable systems of social protection for a more just and resilient garment industry.



October 2021–June 2022

Development Partners

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Project Code


The OSH component is operational in seven countries, namely Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Laos, Madagascar and Vietnam and is implemented by the Vision Zero Fund in close collaboration with ILO’s Better Work Programme. The wage subsidy and cash transfer component is implemented by the ILO’s Social Protection Department and is operational in five of the seven countries (excluding Madagascar and Vietnam).

More than


garment factories

in 7 countries

benefited from

project interventions

OSH Interventions
  • Awareness raising, including a behavioural change social media campaigns
  • Capacity building, including for tripartite COVID-19 taskforces and bipartite OSH committees
  • Workplace-level mitigation measures, including disinfection and hygiene training, COVID-19 risk assessments, safe dormitory management and emergency preparedness and response
  • Facilitation of COVID-19 vaccination programmes
OSH Outcomes: selected highlights

The project used a variety of traditional and innovative ways to improve awareness on COVID-19 infection prevention and protection, appropriate behaviour, and how to manage stress and anxiety. In this regard, the project reached an estimated 6.2 million workers, their families and community members.

The project provided over 50,000 vulnerable workers and service providers with personal protection kits. More than 850 factories were supported to comply with national guidelines and 550 factories received direct support to conduct risk assessments and to develop emergency preparedness plans.

Nearly 5200 participants participated in COVID-19 related trainings. These included constituents, service providers, factory management, OSH Committee members, labour inspectors and occupational health service providers.