The Bangladesh Accord Foundation (BAF) announced yesterday that the first reports detailing the resultsof factory inspections in Bangladesh have been prepared and are available for general perusal on the website of the Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
However, these reports are just the tip of the iceberg, given that they reflect only the first 30 inspections carried out in 10 Bangladeshi factories in December 2013. The main task lies still ahead with 38 teams set to conduct inspections of 1,500 factories between February and September 2014. Each team consists of international fire, electrical and structural engineers who will work together with local engineers and technicians.
“The publication of these reports is an important milestone in the Accord’s progress and a demonstration of our commitment to transparency but it is only really the beginning of our work. There is a big task ahead of the inspection teams and the Accord will be working hard with signatory brands, union signatories, workers at the factories and the factory owners themselves to see that the actions the inspections identify are undertaken,” confirms Alan Roberts, BAF’s executive director of international operations.
A bit of good news is that of the ten factories inspected, none “highlights any issues of a similar magnitude to those which caused the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in April 2013”, which cost the lives of 1,133 workers. However, the reports did identify a number of issues and the steps needed to resolve them, some of which have already been initiated.
Till date, over 150 clothing brands and retailers from 20 countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia have signed the Accord. For the signatories, this means disclosing all factories they source from in Bangladesh and working with the factory owners to ensure that appropriate funds have been set up and are available for renovation and other safety measures. In addition, with IndustriALL and UNI (together with their local affiliates), two global trade unions have signed the Accord as well and the international NGOs Clean Clothes Campaign and Workers’ Rights Consortium act as witnesses.