Safety remediation in the readymade garment factories inspected by the European buyers’ platform Accord on Fire and Building Safety registered only one per cent progress in six months period beginning from January this year.
According to the quarterly aggregate report of Accord released on August 12, the factories achieved 90 per cent remediation progress on July 1, which was 89 per cent on January 1.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has recently claimed that remediation in the RMG factories was being delayed due to imposition of new requirements from the buyers’ platform.
At a press conference on August 3, the BGMEA president Rubana Huq alleged that Accord hired an international firm in 2017 for fire safety inspection and remediation in the RMG factories and then the platform had regularly been bringing up new issues.
There were many factories in which all the Accord approved equipment had been set up but the factories could not pass the testing and commissioning stage of fire safety remediation due to new findings, she said.
Responding to a question over slow progress in remediation, Accord’s chief safety inspector Stefen Quinn said the fire safety remediation was an expensive and time consuming process as equipment involved was all imported.
As per the statistics of Accord, a total of 428 factories implemented 100 per cent initial corrective action plan while 142 units lost their businesses as they failed to implement workplace safety measures provided by the platform.
Data showed that out of 1,672 Accord covered factories 1,153 units remained behind the schedule in implementing corrective action plan while 176 units were on the track.
The report showed that 43 per cent of factories still lacked adequate fire detection and alarm system.
Accord found inadequate fire detection and alarm system in 1,507 factories during the initial inspection and 648 units address the issues until July 1 this year.
The report said that non-compliant exit stair openings were identified in 1,218 factories and the problem still outstanding in 320 units while inadequate fire separation system was identified in 1,274 factories and the problem remained unaddressed in 648 units.
The report showed that the findings of lack of design check against lateral load still remained in 23 per cent factories while inconsistency with building plan and drawings still outstanding in 20 per cent factories.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse on April 24, 2013, that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garments workers, EU retailers formed the Accord undertaking a five-year plan, which set timeframes and accountability for inspections and training and workers empowerment programmes.
At the same time, North American brands and retailers formed Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the platform inspected some 700 factories.
The five-year timeframe of Accord expired on May 31, 2018 and the platform got six months extension as transition period.
Letter on, the supreme Court allowed Accord to run its operation in Bangladesh for 281 working days since May 8 this year.
On the other hand Alliance left Bangladesh on December 31, 2018 year after the end of its tenure.
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