Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance), formed to address and eradicate ready made garment factory workers’ problems in July, 2013, has released an 18-month update giving information about the corrective measures taken by the organisation to ensure employee safety.
The report states that all the factories that its members source from have been inspected in the last year and a half. “It has brought 19 immediate risk cases to the Bangladesh government-established review panel, which determines whether a factory ought to be closed or continue operating under reduced capacity. The panel elected to fully close five factories, partially close 12 and allow two to operate with reduced loads,” states the report.
The update also mentions that the organisation has launched a pre-approval policy which requires all new factories to get registered, inspected and evaluated to prove that they are sufficiently in compliance with key building and fire safety standards set by Alliance.
It has trained 1.2 million workers under the Basic Fire Safety Training Program and has initiated a comprehensive training for security guards in more than 600 factories, focusing on fire safety and the unique roles and responsibilities of security guards during an emergency.
Also a worker’s helpline, which receives an average of 3,000 calls per month concerning issues related to safety, working hours and wages, has been created. So far, the helpline has received calls from nearly 500,000 workers from 300 factories.
Additionally remediation efforts, such as conducting verification visits in 100 factories and finalising corrective action plans for factories, have been made.
In the next three or four years, Alliance is planning to launch Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) committees in all the factories. The committees will act as a formal representative structure that can raise workplace safety and health concerns with management on behalf of the workers. (PB)