The accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh said Wednesday it has completed more than 800 factory inspections for fire, electrical and structural safety, as it disclosed inspection reports and corrective action plans on 50 of those facilities.
This story first appeared in the June 26, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In May 2013, global apparel brands and retailers, along with two unions, IndustriALL and UNI, and several human and labor rights organizations, signed an agreement to make factories safe in Bangladesh in the wake of a fire and building collapse in the country that resulted in more than 1,200 workers losing their lives. More than 180 brands and retailers are now part of the accord.
During the course of the 800 factory inspections, accord engineers identified critical structural findings in 14 buildings. A critical findings inspection is one where the safety findings are to an extent that engineers deem the factory unsafe for production and occupancy in its current state. The accord is expected to inspect about 1,500 factories.
“In these cases, the efforts of the accord focus on expediting the required remedial measures so the factory can be safely reopened as quickly as possible and ensuring that workers’ employment is maintained and their wages continue to be paid while remediation takes place,” said Rob Wayss, executive director of Bangladesh operations.
Brad Loewen, chief safety inspector of the accord, said, “Typical findings include unsound electrical wiring, lack of automated smoke detectors and fire alarm systems; the need for fire-protected exits and fire doors; failure to have proper load management plans and, in some cases, the need to strengthen columns and other structural elements.”
A separate group consisting of mainly North American companies, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, recently said it has inspected more than 500 factories and another 100 or so are remaining. The balance of the estimated 4,000 factories in Bangladesh are being inspected by an International Labour Organization-led program.