The Bangladesh Accord has published the first reports detailing the results of factory inspections in Bangladesh. The reports set out details of the current building safety standards in the first garment factories to be inspected, and identify necessary steps required to improve these standards.
The Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was signed on 13 May 2013, in response to the Rana Plaza factory building collapse on 24 April 2013, which resulted in the deaths of 1,133 workers.
The Bangladesh Accord is a major project to make the garment industry safe and sustainable, in which the brand and retail signatories have disclosed all factories they source from in Bangladesh. Signatories have agreed to independent structural, fire and electrical inspections and to implement the safety improvement measures identified by the inspections.
The reports identify a number of issues to be addressed and also explain the steps to be taken to resolve them, some of which are already underway. The reports do not highlight any issues of a similar magnitude to those that caused the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in April 2013. Issues identified include: the need to reduce weight loads in certain areas of the factory through moving material, stock, or supplies; the requirement for better support for and enclosure of electrical cables; and the need to improve maintenance procedures around items such as electrical circuits, for example keeping them free of dust.
Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union says that transparency is a key for success:
The inspection reports contain an unprecedented level of detail and sets a new standard in transparency and credibility. The reports provide the necessary measures for the continuous work to make the Bangladesh garment industry safe and sustainable.
Head of UNI Commerce Alke Boessiger - a member of the Bangladesh Accord Steering Committee said, “The publishing of our first inspection reports underlines the Bangladesh Accord’s unwavering commitment to transparency and shows just how far we’ve come in under one year.
“Since UNI and IndustriALL challenged brands eleven months ago to sign an agreement that would improve safety and sustainability in Bangladesh’s garment industry, we’ve recruited more than 150 brands, set up an entire management structure, employed the necessary staff and begun inspecting factories.
“The detailed reports published today are designed to help owners and workers alike. They are the first of their kind and will improve a worker’s ability to be informed about safety at their workplace.”
More than 150 global brands and retailers from 20 countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia have signed the legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh with IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union. International NGOs, including Clean Clothes Campaign and Workers’ Rights Consortium are witness signatories to the Accord. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) acts as the independent chair.