The industries ministry has initiated a move to strengthen the Office of the Chief Inspector of Boilers mainly to ensure safety coping with expansion and modernisation of industrial units, officials said.
The ministry in December last sent a letter to the public administration ministry proposing to increase manpower to 235 with the setting up of five more zonal offices in Gazipur, Narayanganj, Mymensingh, Khulna and Rangpur, they added.
At present, there are three offices in Dhaka, Chittagong and Rajshahi with a total of 30 personnel while inspectors number only eight, they added.
"With the expansion of industries, the number of boilers used in factories has increased significantly in recent years," Mohammad Abdul Mannan, chief inspector of boilers, told the FE.
It is difficult to monitor all the boilers with small manpower and ensure its safety and quality, he added.
According to the industries ministry officials, there are more than 5,000 industrial units including readymade garment and textile factories that have boilers.
The government supervises the registered boilers only, making it difficult for the authorities to ascertain the exact number of boilers that exist in the country, they said.
A large number of boilers are running without prior permission from the authorities, thus posing risks of industrial accidents, officials and experts said.
Industries such as readymade garment factories, auto rice mills, fertiliser factories, paper mills, sugar mills, jute mills, cotton mills, textile units and pharmaceutical plants use boilers, they added.
The common reasons behind boiler explosions are misuse, attendants' incompetence and overuse for a long time, they noted.