BANGLADESH: Fire and safety expo highlights training gap
Among the ongoing challenges facing Bangladesh garment factories when it comes to improving fire and building safety are untrained management, supervisors and workers, and a poor attitude to safety, a new survey has shown.
Carried out as the country hosted its first ever International Trade Expo for Building and Fire Safety this week, many of the respondents suggested the standards drawn up by the Accord and Alliance initiatives would be hard or even too stringent to implement.
Protecting the safety of Bangladesh factory workers means "we all have a role to play," explained Mesbah Rabin, managing director of the Dhaka office of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
"That is why we're pleased to be working so closely with our partners on the ground to ensure factory safety improvements will be swift, integrated and sustainable over the long-term."
However, Rob Wayss, executive director of Bangladesh operations for the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, said there is evidence some retailers are withdrawing orders from suppliers who use shared buildings as factories, adding: "We will look into the issue."
But he stressed Accord signatories cannot reduce the volume of orders place in Bangladesh for the next two years or leave the country for the next five years.
The organisers said more than 2,600 participants and exhibitors representing 800 Bangladeshi factories and 40 engineering, technology and materials companies took part in the exposition. A total of 42 exhibitors from Bangladesh, India, the Middle East, China, the US and Europe showed the latest safety materials available to fortify factory enhancements.
Bangladesh is now the second largest garment exporter after China. The country has around 4,000 active garment factories, employing more than 4m people directly, 80% of whom are women.
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