Major effort launched to complete remaining RMG factory inspections

A major effort is underway to complete safety inspectionsof all remaining export-oriented ready-made garment factories.

Press release | Dhaka, Bangladesh | 03 February 2015

Two private sector companies TUV-SUD Bangladesh Pvt Ltd., and Veritas Engineering& Consultant have been engaged to carry out structural, fire and electrical safety inspections of factories as part of the national initiative under the National Tripartite Plan of Action for Fire and Structural Safety (NTPA). The companies commenced their inspections on22 January 2015 and are scheduled to complete the work by end of April 2015.
The companies will first carry out structural assessments of RMG factories. They will then carry out fire and electrical inspections in every factorythat clears the structural assessment. In parallel, a coordination mechanism and follow up process has been agreed to and is ongoing so that any critical findings and shortcomings found in the assessments will be addressed by the national authorities led by the Department of Factories and Establishments (DIFE).
The work is supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) through its Improving Working Conditions in the RMG sector project, an initiative funded by Canada, the Netherlands and the UK.

“It is vital that the remaining structural, fire and electrical safety inspections of ready-made garment factories are carried out as quickly as possible. By bringing in this extra capacity to complete the inspections a major step towards ensuring safety in the sector will have been taken,” saidILO Country Director Srinivas Reddy.
In all there are approximately 3,500 export-orientated RMG factories in Bangladesh. Two initiatives: the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety have carried out inspections of 1,690 factories which their member companies source from. The remainingfactories are being inspected under thenational initiative supported by ILO.To date some 500 factories have already been inspected under the national initiative by inspection teams from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) for building, fire and electrical safety. BUET will continue to play an important advisory role regarding the development and implementation of corrective action plans for factories based on the inspection findings.

Speaking on the initiativeMr Reddy stressed the importance of ensuring that the results of inspection reports are effectively followed up.

“The completion of inspections will be an important step towards boosting safety in the RMG sector, however it must be seen as part of a wider process. Inspection reports must be promptly followed up. Considerable efforts are underway to enhance the capacity of and collaboration between regulatory authorities responsible for building and worker safety to ensure that remediation work is implemented and monitored effectively,” he said.
The three-and-a-half year Improving Working Conditions in the Ready Made Garment (RMG) Sector Programme focuses on improving RMG factory building safety, workers’ rights and overall working conditions in Bangladesh. The initiative will run until December 2016. The Ready-Made Garment (RMG) sector is integral to the Bangladeshi economy, with an estimate of 3,500 export factories in operation, providing employment for over 4.2 million workers. Industry exports totalled $24.5 billion in 2013-2014, making Bangladesh the world's second largest apparel exporter.