Federal agencies Inspections

Initiative leads to more than 1,000 factory inspections in Bangladesh

Amsterdam – A wide-ranging effort to improve fire and building safety in response to a deadly Bangladesh building collapse in 2013 has resulted in more than 1,100 factory inspections in the country and more than 400 corrective action plans, officials said Oct. 14.

The initiative, known as the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, consists of two global unions, eight Bangladeshi unions and 189 companies. The participants signed a safety agreement shortly after an April 2013 building collapse that killed more than 900 workers at a Bangladeshi garment factory.

The collapse prompted calls by U.S. lawmakers to take steps to improve safety in the garment industry. In a May 2013 letter to President Barack Obama, Reps. Sander Levin (D-MI) and George Miller (D-CA) said the administration should lead an effort involving American and European retailers to pursue a “universal standard guaranteeing basic workplace safety and fundamental worker rights.”

In Bangladesh, the Accord’s recent initiative identified more than 80,000 safety issues. The group said a number of corrective actions such as reducing weight loads and adhering to load management plans have been implemented. Other safety measures include installing fire doors and automated fire alarm systems, establishing fire-protected exits and strengthening building columns.