Fire Safety Plan in the Works: ILO

The government of Bangladesh, labor unions and representatives of garment manufacturers and exports organizations will develop plan by the end of February.

GENEVA — The government of Bangladesh, and representatives of garment manufacturers and exports organizations and labor unions, agreed on Tuesday to develop by the end of February a comprehensive action plan on fire safety to prevent any further loss of life, the International Labor Organization said.

This story first appeared in the January 16, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The initiative comes in the face of mounting international pressure after a fire in a garment factory in November killed more than 111 workers.

The objective of the action plan, the ILO said, is to take comprehensive action to prevent any “further loss of life, limb and property due to work place fires and fire-related accidents and incidents.

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The one-day meeting, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and jointly hosted by the ILO and Bangladesh’s ministry of Labor and Employment, included the participation of representatives from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, or BGMEA; the Bangladesh Employers Federation, or BEF, and from major labor unions including the Bangladesh National Council of Textile, Garments and Leather.

In a signed statement, the three parties — government, employers and unions — expressed great sadness at the loss of lives due to fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd. — the company that manufactured garments for major global companies such as Wal-Mart, Li & Fung and Germany’s C&A retail group, the labor agency said.

The agreed text calls for the promotion of key ILO norms such as the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006, the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981, and other ILO accords pertinent for occupational safety and health.

The three sides also committed “ to fully abide” by all laws, regulations and procedures aimed at ensuring fire safety at the workplace, and agreed to develop, promote and implement transparent mechanisms to ensure fire safety in the country, the ILO said.

Moreover, they also called for international and national partners, including brands-buyers, international donor agencies, civil society groups and the ILO for technical support, to assist them in implementing the National Tripartite Action Plan on Fire Safety, once finalized.