Improving safety within Bangladesh’s garment industry

Recent tragedies in Dhaka’s garment industry have highlighted the importance of improving safety standards and ensuring protection for factory workers.

 

Savar factory collapse

Savar factory collapseTwo weeks after the collapse of a garment factory complex in Savar near Dhaka, work is still underway to recover the bodies of workers from the rubble. Over 2,500 injured people have been pulled out alive, and over 900 people are confirmed dead.

 

Bangladesh factory collapseWith the majority of factory workers coming from rural villages, many of the bodies have not been identified by their families and have been buried in mass graves.

 

Those with major injuries and lost limbs will require months of rehabilitation. The majority of factory workers are the main bread winners for their families, putting the survival of many people into jeopardy.

 

Clothing factory fire

Last night, a fire in an 11-storey clothing factory in Dhaka’s Mirpur district claimed the lives of at least eight people, including the Managing Director and a senior police officer. At the time of the blaze a meeting was being held and none of the 800-plus factory workers were in the building, significantly reducing the potential number of casualties.

 

This factory had started a fire safety project, coordinated by Cyan’s partner Reed Consulting Bangladesh. Unfortunately in this case, the training came too late.

 

Urgent need to improve safety standards

Bangladesh has one of the largest garment industries in the world, with over four million people working in the industry.

 

As these recent tragedies have proved, safety standards are in urgent need of improvement.

 

Cyan’s partner Reed Consulting Bangladesh (RCB) works in the social responsibility sector with the garment industry to improve safety for workers, ensure cleaner production methods and work towards international standards. RCB had recently been contracted to project manage a building integrity survey of 108 factories, including the factory which had the fire.

 

Cyan and RCB will continue to work for safer working conditions, both while the spotlight is on the industry at this time, and over the years ahead, for the benefit of the millions of garment workers in Dhaka.

 

9 May 2013