A coalition of trade unions led by IndustriALL and Uni and 70 market leading clothing brands and retailiers announced steps to implement the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. According to the announcement from IndustriaALL, the coalition will begin taking steps to address safety issues in clothing factories in Bangladesh. The announcement identified key highlights of the implementation plan which includes conducting initial inspections to identify hazards and the need for repairs within nine months. More details on the plan can be found at the IndustriALL website.
Over the past several months, there has been extensive news coverage of a number of tragic fires in garment factories in Bnagladesh and Pakistan. In April, the media also covered the collapse of the Rana Plaza Factory,an eight-story commercial building located outside Dhaka, killing 1,127and injuring another 2,500 people.
In a recent column in NFPA Journal, NFPA President Jim Shannon called these incidents appalling saying,"It is appalling in the 21st century that workers anywhere in the world would be subjected to conditions like these." He likened these horrific events to the Triangle Waist Co. fire in 1911 in New York that took the lives of 146 people, mostly garment workers. Following this fire, NFPA led the way in upgrading working conditions in the United States by developing the Building Exits Code, which has evolved into NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®. Shannon states in his piece, "As an organization that is regarded as a worldwide authority on safety, we must contribute to the effort to raise standards of safety for workers everywhere...Adoption of NFPA 1® Fire Code® and the Life Safety Code by the governments of Pakistan and Bangladesh is a way for those countries to begin to raise safety standards."