WASHINGTON — The chief safety inspector for the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh on Monday said inspection teams have partially shut down two “high-risk” garment factories.
The Accord said it plans to inspect 250 garment factories a month until 1,500 factories used by its apparel brands and retail members are inspected by the end of August.
“What that represents is 13 teams, including fire, electrical and structural, are on the ground every day,” Brad Loewen, the group’s chief safety inspector, said. “Basically, we are getting 250 inspections done in a month…so it is an aggressive plan.”
Led by IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union and signed by 150 companies, including Inditex, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Carrefour, Primark and C&A, the Accord is making its first inspection reports public. The initiative launched last year amid intense global scrutiny following the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. fire in November 2012 and the Rana Plaza building collapse last April that claimed the lives of more than 1,240 workers. RELATED STORY: Bangladesh Protestors Demand Rana Plaza Compensation >>
The Accord’s executive directors, along with Loewen, released the names of 10 factories in the pilot project and some details about the results of the inspections. The full details and reports on the 10 factories are set to be revealed Tuesday in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and on the group’s Web site.
Some 70 more garment factories have been inspected by the Accord since the pilot project inspections were conducted in December. Teams first conducted inspections at the most high-risk garment factories, defined as those in buildings with five or more floors of production and used by multiple factories. Two plants were partially closed in the past week due to serious structural problems, Loewen said. The government of Bangladesh closed the two factories, per the Accord’s emergency protocol, and a review panel was established within 24 hours, Loewen said.
“In one of the factories, four floors out of eight had to be entirely evacuated — all of the people and equipment and everything right down to the floor. They were then allowed to carry on production on the other four floors,” he said, adding that fabrics and other materials had to be removed from the four floors and water tanks on the roofs had to be emptied. “So basically, we lightened up the buildings substantially and then allowed some production to go ahead.…There has [so far]…been a way to find a compromise that allows a reduced operation to continue.”
The review panel, comprised of engineers and government, labor and industry representatives, meets within 48 hours to review the closed factories and the facility can only be reopened if the four engineers approve it unanimously.
Accord officials also released the names of the 10 garment factories in the pilot project — Alif Garments Ltd., Anlima Textile Ltd., Big Boss Corp., Dragon Sweater, The Fashion Island Ltd., Grameen Knitwear Ltd., Majumder Fashions Ltd., Redpoint Jackets Ltd., Rio Fashion Wear Ltd. and Viyellatex Ltd.
Among some of the most common problems found in the pilot project were uncontrolled heavy storage loading areas, the lack of structural loading plans, locked gates and exits, absence of fire doors, lack of automatic sprinkler systems and electrical issues such as cables and wires not being identified or supported. Factory owners are required to pay for repairs outlined in the remediation plan, but brands are expected to help them identify sources of funding if they don’t have the resources.
Inspectors give factories two-weeks notice before an inspection. The inspection report includes a remediation plan that is sent to the factory owners, brands and worker representatives within two weeks of the inspection date. Those entities develop a final remediation plan, reviewed by Accord staff, which is then implemented. A public report of each inspection will be posted on the Accord’s Web site within six weeks.
Asked why inspectors give two weeks notice to factory owners and do not go in unannounced, Alan Roberts, the Accord’s executive director of international operations, said: “We are not actually trying to catch people out here. What we are trying to do is create a sustainable safe future for factories in Bangladesh. We believe by working with the factories in an open, honest and transparent way, that we will create the right relationships to build on. That is a five-year process.”
Roberts said unannounced factory inspections in the past have sent a message that the inspectors don’t trust the factories, “and that is not the spirit or intent of what the accord is about.” Loewen added that, in general, “there has been very good cooperation at all levels. We trust that will continue.”
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)