The alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety said Wednesday it has contracted with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston to conduct an independent assessment of its basic fire safety training for garment factory workers in Bangladesh.

The project team will be led by Hasanat Alamgir, an associate professor of occupational health at the University of Texas School of Public Health’s Program in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. The team will conduct a research study consisting of surveys and focus groups from workers, and deliver a detailed report on the effectiveness of the Alliance worker training. This report will help identify areas of improvement as the Alliance training programs continue and expand the in the coming years.

In February, Alamgir advised on the design and implementation of the Alliance baseline survey that engaged 3,200 randomly selected workers from 28 representative Alliance factories to identify gaps in worker knowledge of fire safety practices and develop baseline indicators. This initial survey demonstrated the urgent need for basic fire safety training, with results showing that only 39 percent of workers could correctly identify what to do in case of emergency and only two percent could identify five common fire hazards.

As part of the UT assessment, Alamgir will collaborate with and mentor a team of faculty and graduate students at Dhaka University to build local capacity for impact assessment research. Through the process, the Alliance also aims to help establish best practices in factory worker safety training that can be used across manufacturing industries in Bangladesh and elsewhere.

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