The Alliance's Commitment
Workplace safety is an ongoing process that relies not only on a safe physical working environment but also on effective communication between workers and management. Effective dialogue between these parties is required to ensure that occupational safety and health issues can be identified and effectively addressed in all factories. Therefore, the Alliance and its member brands are committed to supporting the establishment of credible Worker Safety Committees, which are vital to this communication process and are required in all Alliance factories. In support of the 2006 Bangladesh Labour Act and the 2010 EPZ Worker Welfare Association and Industrial Relations Act, the Alliance Safety Committee (SC) program assists factories in establishing democratically elected SCs, building the capacity of committee members through proper training on their roles and responsibilities, and ensuring that SC activities are properly carried out to ensure workplace safety.
Safety Committee Formation
Committee Structure: Safety Committees are comprised of an equal number of both management and worker representatives, with a minimum of 6 and maximum of 12 representatives in total. One management representative serves as Chairman. One worker representative serves as Vice Chairman and another as Secretary. If at least one-third of the factory’s workers are women, then one-third of the SC worker representatives must be women. The tenure of each elected committee is two years.
Nominations & Elections: A factory’s management team nominates the management representatives, and the democratically elected Participation Committee (PC) or trade union nominates worker representatives. If the factory is in an export processing zone (EPZ), the factory’s Worker Welfare Association (WWA) may nominate SC members.
Verification & Support: The Alliance verifies that each factory’s Participation Committee (PC), Worker Welfare Association (WWA), or collective bargaining agent (trade union) was democratically formed according to the law, as this is a prerequisite for the nomination of SC worker representatives. Verification is done by randomly interviewing factory workers regarding the nomination and election process that took place in the factory. If found to be properly formed, the Alliance works with the factory’s management and PC, WWA or trade union to educate them on the role of the SC and how to properly nominate SC members.
Safety Committee Training
Train-the-Trainer Model: After confirming that an SC is properly formed, the Alliance invites the SC to send two elected worker representatives and two management representatives to two days of training from the Alliance. Using a Train-the-Trainer (TtT) approach, these trained representatives, or Ambassadors, then return to their SCs to train the remaining representatives and integrate the training into their committee functions and activities.
Training Implementation: Both the training provided to Ambassadors and the in-factory training are highly participatory, using role-play, demonstrations, and other interactive activities. Training materials—including flip charts, guidebooks, leaflets, and toolkits—are designed to be easily understood by representatives with low literacy levels.
Safety Committee Development Activities
Safety Committee Requirements: The Alliance guides and advises SCs to ensure they become functional committees able to monitor, communicate, and help improve factory safety conditions. Within five days of a factory’s SC Ambassadors receiving training from the Alliance, the SC must submit an action plan in which it commits to completing the activities below within three months. The Alliance provides support during this time, assisting factories with any questions or issues that may arise. SCs must submit evidence of completion for each activity such as training reports, attendance records and documented protocols.
- Alliance-trained Ambassadors conduct training for remaining SC members along with Participation Committee (PC) members
- Introduce SC representatives, provide orientation, and distribute leaflets to all workers
- Develop a safety policy, safety record book, and an emergency response procedure
- Develop a register to record issues raised by workers and resolved through the SC
- Conduct a risk assessment and two follow-ups
- Conduct three formal SC meetings
- Conduct three evacuation drills
After each SC’s initial three months in the Alliance Safety Committee program, Alliance staff will visit the factory to verify that the SC completed all of the required activities, assess its impact on workplace safety, and provide support to overcome any obstacles the SC may be facing.
Tracking & Enabling Progress
While SC activities are being completed, the Alliance continues to follow up with each SC to verify that the committee continues conducting its activities and to ensure it has the resources needed to progress with its action plan. They do this through:
Spot-Checks: To ensure in-factory training was properly conducted and the SC is completing its committee functions according to their action plan, Alliance staff conduct periodic spot-checks. These visits are either unannounced or unannounced within a non-specific time period. Spot-checks intend to verify whether activities are being conducted as SCs are reporting them, and to evaluate their effectiveness through observation, worker and management interviews, and document reviews. Spot-checks are also used to identify and learn about specific challenges SCs face and innovations to overcome them.
Support Program: Any SCs that have trouble implementing their action plan or otherwise fall behind in their required activities receive additional on-site support from the Alliance or approved 3rd-party trainers.
Brand Notifications: Alliance member brands are notified about the progress of SC formation and committee activities within their factories to enable their follow-up and support. Brand representatives are informed and trained so they can help with implementation, follow-up, and spot-checks.