Laser Focus on Critical Safety Repairs and Establishment of Worker Safety Committees as the Alliance Enters Year Four
DHAKA – As part of its ongoing commitment to enforcing a culture of safety in its Bangladesh garment factories, The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance) today issued its third annual report, which reflects significant progress toward its goal of leaving the industry substantially safer as a result of the initiative.
The Alliance is working with factories to prioritize the most critical repairs—those that are most important for life safety, yet often the most costly and time-consuming for factories to achieve—including the import and installation of fire doors, the reinforcement of structural beams and columns, and the installation of sprinkler systems. To date, 55 percent of these high-priority repairs have been completed.
“By July 2018, all Alliance factories will have either completed their high-priority repairs or have been suspended from the Alliance’s list of suppliers,” said the Honorable Ellen Tauscher, independent chair of the Alliance. “Progress toward this goal has been significant, and achieving closure on the remaining issues most critical to life safety remains our primary focus.”
The Alliance is also ramping up its program, launched in April, to establish Worker Safety Committees—groups of workers trained and empowered to monitor on-site occupational safety and health issues. The number of committees has tripled from 16 to 54 since April, and committees will be operational in a majority of Alliance factories by July 2018.
“Achieving safety in factories is about more than completing repairs. It must be accompanied by comprehensive efforts to inform, engage and empower the women and men who earn their living in garment factories,” said Alliance Country Director Amb. James F. Moriarty. “By approaching remediation and empowerment hand in hand, we are working to set the gold standard for garment factories throughout Bangladesh.”
According to the Alliance report:
- Forty (40) factories have achieved substantial completion of their Corrective Action Plans, or CAPs;
- Ninety-seven (97) factories have been suspended from the list of Alliance-compliant factories for failure to make sufficient remediation progress;
- Sixty-three (63) percent of all required repairs have been completed—including 55 percent of high-priority repairs;
- Worker Safety Committees empowered to monitor on-site occupational safety and health issues have been established or are in formation in 54 factories;
- More than 1.2 million workers have been trained in basic fire safety, with nearly 800,000 receiving the interactive refresher course;
- Nearly 23,000 security guards have been provided with fire safety leadership training, and
- The Alliance Helpline has become a go-to resource for workers inside and outside of Alliance factories, receiving an average of 4,200 calls per month and nearly 90,000 calls total since the helpline was established.