ILO statement on factory fire in Rupganj, Bangladesh

Press release | 10 July 2021
DHAKA (ILO News) – The ILO is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life of at least 52 workers from a fire in the Hashem Food and Beverage factory in Rupganj area of Naranyanganj, and to see reports of underage workers among the victims. We extend our heartfelt condolences and solidarity with the families of the victims and others injured at this factory.

This incident illustrates the urgent need in Bangladesh for authorities and building owners to ensure that buildings in which thousands of workers spend the better part of their day, are built and operated in compliance with national code requirements. If the fire safety measures required by the regulations were properly implemented, it would provide for safe evacuation of occupants in this type of emergency.

The ILO has worked closely with the Government of Bangladesh, employers’ and worker’ organisations and development partners to improve working conditions in the ready-made garment (RMG) industry.

The ILO is working with the government’s labour inspectorate to enhance the effectiveness of safety inspections, and is helping with the development and implementation of an industrial safety framework that would extend the good practices applied over the past eight year in the RMG sector to all other industries.

This latest incident illustrates the urgency of that endeavour. The ILO will continue to work with the Government of Bangladesh and the employers’ and workers’ organisations on these efforts.

We hope that this tragic accident will drive all parties involved to apply renewed vigour in addressing the safety deficits in workplaces across the country.