The group representing more than 90 fashion retailers and brands working to improve fire and building safety in Bangladesh's garment industry has admitted that a fatal fire in a fabric mill earlier this week shows there is "still a long way to go" to achieving this goal.

The steering committee of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh also says the fire at the Aswad Composite Mills will lead to new discussions to clarify the scope of the agreement - especially the extent to which audits need to be carried out further down the supply chain.

At least nine workers were killed and more than 50 injured in the blaze at the factory in Gazipur, which is owned by Palmal Group.

The facility is said to have been making fabric used by the George at Asda clothing label, H&M, Next, Gap Inc, Primark, and Canadian retailers Loblaw and Hudson's Bay Company.

Details of nearly 1,600 Bangladesh garment factories used by Accord signatories were released last week as part of the group's efforts to improve safety and transparency in the country's garment industry.

The group has given itself nine months to carry out inspections of all garment factories that supply its members, and will ensure that financial resources are available for repair and remediation where needed.

However, Aswad Composite Mills in Gazipur - as opposed to the factory with the same name located in Ashulia - does not appear on the list because it is primarily a fabric mill and not a clothing manufacturer.

The Accord agreement and its factory list cover cut-make-trim (CMT) facilities that produce finished garments and do not specifically include fabric mills. CMT facilities are the vast majority of all factories in Bangladesh.

"While Aswad does have some sewing operations, it appears Aswad produced only fabric, and not finished garments, for Accord signatories and therefore it was not reported as within the scope of the Accord," the group said.

It also stressed that because no factories have yet been approved by the Accord, the absence of the Aswad factory from the list had no bearing on the fire.

"However, its absence does point out the need to clarify the scope of the Accord," a statement said.

"Going forward, the Accord steering committee will address this issue, with the goal of ensuring that the Accord covers as many facilities and workers as is feasible."

The incident comes less than six months after the Rana Plaza building collapsed killing 1,132 garment workers.

Fashion retailer Next has also pointed out that it is unclear "whether any audit would have prevented this tragedy. Once the cause is known, as routine Next will review its procedures, including the extent to which it needs to look further down the supply chain - particularly in high risk areas such as Bangladesh."