Workers' rights association Clean Clothes Campaign said yesterday's Bangladeshi garment factory stampede, in which 3 workers were killed and more than 50 hurt, is another in a string of incidents showing the urgent improvements necessary within the country's clothing industry.

More than 100 workers fought to escape the building in Gazipur down a narrow staircase after an electrical spark from a short circuit reportedly raised fears of a fire breaking out. Workers were apparently prevented from leaving the building easily by boxes blocking their escape route.

The factory allegedly housed Saiem Fashion, SK Sweater and Radiance Sweater production plants and is at the centre of several serious workers' rights violations.

The incident comes after a recent garment factory fire in Chittagong and a factory collapse in Dhaka, which left about 75 people dead in total.

Clean Clothes Campaign International Secretariat spokesperson Nina Ascoly told just-style: "We think these events are highly preventable.

"The immediate response to the latest event is support and adequate compensation for affected workers and their families. Beyond that, transparent investigations are needed. We need to ask why the event happened and who is responsible.

"Labour rights activists have been discussing these sort of events for years so they are not surprising to us. What is shocking is that structural improvements are not taking place. It is clear what needs to be done."

CCC wants compensation of 500,000 taka each for families of the workers who died, provision of free medical treatment and compensation of 50,000 taka for each injured worker, payment of full salaries for all workers during the period their workplace remains closed, and arrest and trial of the factory owners.

CCC has been pushing for an independent international committee to be formed. There has been some progress, says, but action is obviously not fast enough.

Ascoly points to the cases of locked factory gates as just one sort of safety hazard workers are faced with.

According to a recent study from the Bangladesh Institute for Labour Studies, 130 workers in the garment industry died on the job in 2005 and 480 were wounded.