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.”
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)