RMG factory repair works go slow, says Accord

May 22, 2015

Only 20 per cent of remediation work has been completed in the readymade garment factories that supply products for the European brands and retailers as the work is going on a slow pace due to unwillingness of factory owners as well as some technical problems. At a press conference marking the second anniversary of Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the platform of EU buyers, on Thursday said that the initiative found a total of 54,432 problems related on structural, fire and electrical safety during its initial inspections in more than 1,500 factories.
‘In the high percentage of the factories, the remediation work is going very slow. Of 54,432 problems, 2,579 have so far been corrected which is 20 per cent of total findings,’ said Brad Loewn, the chief safety inspector of Accord.
He said that ‘the percentage of correction is unfortunate.’
Brad said that they issued warning letters to 35 factories where the remediation work was not satisfactory.
‘After issuing the letter we got very good response from 100 per cent factories,’ he said.
According to Brad, the Accord engineers are monitoring progress and verifying implementation of CAPs and conducting follow up inspections to verify corrective actions have been completed correctly.
‘The Accord will verify all remediation, but prioritizing follow up inspections will be more efficient when reliable information is coming from signatory representatives,’ he said.
Brad said that a total of 462 verification inspections have so far been taken place and 224 follow-up inspection reports (fire, electrical and structural) have been sent to the factories, the company signatories and labour signatories.
He, however, said there has been especially good progress on the electrical remediation which is positive as most factory fires are caused by electrical hazards.
Rob Wayss, the executive director of Accord, said that they have completed inspections in over 1,500 factories in two phases and finalized corrective action plans for 1,000 factories up to date.
Remediation has been going on and we are facing some challenges as progress of the work in many factories is slow and some of the factory owners are not cooperating, he said.
Rob explained that fire door and fire alarm system are needed for most of the factories and factory authorities will have to import the products and time is required for the process and in some cases remediation is being delayed due to unwillingness of factory owners.
He said that the Accord is going to form Occupational Health and Safety Committee in some of their suppliers’ factories with the support of International Labour Organisation and the committee will monitor the safety issues and remediation progress in the factories.
The workers’ representatives of the OHS Committee will be selected from the trade union and where there is no trade union, workers will elect their representatives through election.
‘We feel quite confident that inspection in 1,500-plus factories have been completed. Identifying the issues and developing plans to correct them in the first stage,’ Rob said.
He said that in last two years good progress has been made, but more needs to be done and Accord remains focused to realize the common goal of a safe and sustainable RMG sector in Bangladesh.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse on April 24, 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, Western retailers and apparel brands, reacting to public outrage, began a major push to improve safety in the Bangladeshi factories.
The EU brands and retailers including H&M, Carrefour and Mango, as well as 14 American companies formed the Accord and the initiative started inspection since February last year that ended in March this year.

-Input from New Age

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