The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh has cut ties with five more ready-made garment suppliers after they failed to implement workplace safety measures – with one fraudulently falsifying concrete strength test results. 

In separate statements, the Accord said it has terminated business with M-Yew Fashion Ltd, All Weather Fashions Ltd, Crystal Apparels Ltd (no relation to Crystal Apparel Ltd, the denim division of Hong Kong based Crystal Group), Padma Sweaters Ltd and Smart Group, whose factories include Smart Jeans, Smart Jackets (BD) Ltd, Shehan Specialised Textile Mills Ltd and RB Industries Limited.

M-Yew Fashion, All Weather Fashions, Crystal Apparels and Padma Sweaters were all inspected for fire, electrical and structural safety by the Accord in 2014, but failed to make adequate progress in CAP implementation.

In the case of Smart Group, the supplier admitted to falsifying concrete strength test results, which were needed to determine what structural retrofitting was necessary for the remediation.

"This egregious act of fraud resulted in the Accord implementing an expedited escalation process where Smart Group RMG factories have become terminated factories and ineligible to produce for Accord signatory companies," the group said.

None of the factories can produce for Accord signatory companies until they meet the conditions for requalification.

The moves come as the Accord continues to conduct independent engineering inspections for fire, electrical, and building structural safety at all factories in Bangladesh producing for its member companies.

It also oversees the development of Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) by factories, monitors remediation through follow-up verification visits, and provides technical advice, resources and guidance during remediation.

Where corrective actions to eliminate safety hazards are identified, the factory is required to implement these according to a schedule that is mandatory and time-bound, the Accord explains.

If a supplier fails to implement these corrective actions and cooperate fully in the Accord's inspection and related programmes, the factory will receive notice and warning that its business with Accord signatory companies will be terminated if non-compliance persists.

The Accord adds that if the notice and warning process does not lead to sufficient progress, business relations with the supplier will be terminated by signatory companies.

The group, which has now been signed by over 200 apparel brands, retailers and importers from over 20 countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia – including Adidas, C&A, Fast Retailing, M&S, Inditex and H&M – reached its third anniversary earlier this month.

During this time, it has inspected 1,550 factories for fire, electrical and structural safety, with an additional 75 newly listed factories included in the current, ongoing round of initial inspections.

Around 60% of the safety hazards identified through the initial inspections have now been reported or verified as repaired.

Who has signed the Bangladesh safety accord – update

So far this year, another 14 Bangladesh ready-made garment suppliers have been disqualified from doing business with Accord members. 

Bangladesh Accord axes ten more apparel suppliers