The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety is to start initial inspections on a new batch of factories added by signatories since August last year.

Last August, the Accord stopped adding new factories to the list of those to be examined in the first round of inspections that took place until September, a spokesperson for the group explained.

“The exact number of factories may change as new factories are still being added, but the current number is about 200,” he added.

More than 190 mostly-European companies have signed the Accord following the collapse of the Rana Plana factory building in Dhaka, which killed more than 1,100 people in 2013.

The legally-binding five-year agreement will see independent safety inspections with public reports on all Bangladeshi suppliers used by the signatory companies, mandatory repairs and renovations, the obligation by brands to underwrite the costs of safety upgrades, and repercussions for suppliers that refuse to improve conditions, including the termination of business.

As of October last year, the Accord had inspected all 1,106 factories used by its members - who include M&S, C&S, Adidas and H&M - identified more than 80,000 safety issues that need to be resolved, and finalised over 400 corrective action plans.

The group has also issued a manual and other remediation guidance to help its supplier factories as the implementation of fire protection measures gets underway.