Half of inspected RMG units still lack fire safety system, claims Accord

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Mar 20,2019 | Updated: 22:43, Mar 19,2019


Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a platform of European buyers and brands, has claimed that more than fifty per cent of readymade garment factories inspected by the initiative still lacked adequate fire detection and alarm system.
The platform also claimed that the findings of discrepancy in building plan and drawings still remained in nearly 25 per cent factories, as per its quarterly aggregate report on remediation progress and status of workplace programmes at RMG factories on Monday.
The EU buyers’ platform Accord, which is pressing the government to allow its activities for three more years in Bangladesh as its five-year tenure expired in November, 2018.
According to the report, the platform conducted initial inspections in 1,601 factories and of them only 197 units completed 100 per cent remediation.
During the initial inspection, the platform found inadequate fire detection and alarm system in 1,311 factories and the problems still remained in 668 units.
Accord said that it made overall 89 per cent remediation in its factories while 116 factories had been made ineligible for business due to noncompliance.
Following the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 24, 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, the EU brands and retailers formed Accord undertaking a five-year plan which set timeframes and accountability for safety inspections and training and workers’ empowerment programmes in the Bangladesh RMG sector.
At the same time North American buyers and retailers formed another platform namely Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
The platform leaves Bangladesh after its time frame in December 31 last year.
According to the quarterly report, the 2018 Transition Accord, which took effect on 1 June 2018, covered 1,688 RMG and textile factories.
Of them, 1,402 factories are ‘active’, meaning that at least one company signatory is actively sourcing from there, 42 factories are ‘inactive responsible’, meaning that at least one company signatory was sourcing from there in the last 18 months and 244 factories are ‘no-brand’, meaning that they were covered under the 2013 Accord but had not completed the initial remediation until 1 June 2018.
The report said that non-compliant exit stair openings were identified in 1,245 factories and the finding remained unaddressed in 370 factories and lack of fire separation still existed in 207 factories out of 1,261 units.
It said that to support factories, Accord arranged remediation fund and a total of 130 remediation finance requests had so far been received from the factories, of which 50 were resolved.
Accord report said that the platform was committed to supporting the efforts of the government of Bangladesh to capacitate the Remediation Coordination Cell to regulate fire and building safety in Bangladesh, and to hand over the work of the Accord when the RCC was ready.
It also said that the Accord had so far handed over 100 factories to the RCC that completed all remediation from initial inspections.

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