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Bangladesh: Alliance announces fourth year results

By Simone Preuss

Nov 15, 2017

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, which currently covers 785 factories and close to 1.4 million workers, has realeased its fourth annual report today, announcing substantial factory safety improvements and the expansion of its worker training and empowerment initiatives within the past year. According to the Alliance, the data confirm that it is on track to complete nearly all Corrective Action Plans (CAPs), except for newly added and expanding factories, and to transition safety monitoring operations to trusted local partners in 2018.

“Overhauling safety in hundreds of factories is a massive undertaking, and we are incredibly proud of what the Alliance has accomplished together with our partners in just four short years,” says the Alliance's executive director Jim Moriarty. “Until we achieve our mandate, fortifying safety in Alliance factories and equipping workers with empowerment tools will remain our laser focus.”

In terms of progress, the Alliance highlights the following achievements: 85 percent of all required factory repairs have been completed, including 80 percent of high-priority repairs, while 234 Alliance-affiliated factories have completed all material items in their CAPs and 162 non-compliant factories have been suspended from Alliance factory list.

When it comes to worker safety and workers having a say in their own matters, democratically elected Worker Safety Committees have been established in 171 factories and more than 1.3 million workers across 941 Alliance- and non-Alliance factories have access to Amader Kotha, the Alliance’s confidential worker helpline.

In terms of fire safety, more than 1.4 million workers have been trained in basic fire safety and 1.3 million have participated in refresher courses. Nearly 27,000 security guards have been trained in fire safety leadership and nearly 20,000 have received refresher training. In addition, the Alliance has designed a safety training workshop for senior factory managers and partnered with the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) on a graduate-level short course for Bangladesh engineers, both designed to build in-country capacity on safety.

More information can be found in the fourth annual report, which is available via the Alliance's website, bangladeshworkersafety.org. It details the remediation progress, suspended factories, worker empowerment through fire safety training, the helpline with case stories and other safety training. “Our factories are demonstrably safer today than when the Alliance began—and the hard work that factory owners have undertaken since 2013 is now paying off, as hundreds of factories are reaching CAP closure,” comments Moriarty.

Unlike the Accord on Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety, the Alliance will not be extended post 2018 but transitioned to key stakeholders like the Alliance factories, the BGMEA, ILO, Accord counterparts, the Government of Bangladesh and others. “This achievement represents a starting line for these factories, for whom maintaining rigorous safety standards must remain an ongoing priority—and we are committed to transitioning our program in a way that paves the way for sustainable progress beyond 2018,” sums up the executive director.

Photos: Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety