Tragic fire in Bangladesh calls for accelerated progress on fire safety

09-10-2013

BSCI is saddened by the tragic fire that took place at Aswad garment factory in Bangladesh during the evening of 8 October 2013 and sends its sincere condolences to the families of the victims. While the Aswad garment factory is not connected to any BSCI participating company, BSCI underlines again that much more effort is required to improve working conditions, strengthen labour inspections and enhance fire safety and building integrity in this major producing country. In this regard, BSCI calls upon the Bangladeshi government again, as well as all other stakeholders in the country, to accelerate the implementation of the Tripartite Action Plan and the related legislative measures adopted during the summer of 2013. Laws can only bring improvements in Bangladeshi factories if they are enforced by the authorities. Additionally, BSCI hopes that the Accord on fire and building safety as well as the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety will help accelerate progress in Bangladesh.

BSCI will continue to actively roll out its activities aiming to enhance workers’ protection and improve fire safety throughout the leverage of our three pillars. Auditing: In 2013, BSCI has put in place stricter evaluation of several health and safety issues in order to render issues related to fire safety immediately non-compliant and also alert companies consequently. We will continue to closely monitor the effective implementation of these preventive measures. Training: In 2013, BSCI organised 14 fire safety workshops for factories in Bangladesh. These were conducted by experts from WRAP. In parallel; BSCI also organised training for buying companies on fire safety. Fire safety will remain a focus of BSCI training activities. Stakeholder engagement: BSCI organised a stakeholder Round Table on 14 March 2013 in Dhaka in order to discuss the Bangladesh National Action Plan on fire safety. BSCI also engages, through its mother organisation the Foreign Trade Association, in dialogue with representatives of the Bangladesh government as well as with the European Commission and the European Parliament. BSCI continues to build stronger relations at the political level and calls for a consequent enforcement of the existing laws in Bangladesh. BSCI believes that progress can be achieved if BSCI participants, governments, NGOs, trade unions and all other relevant partners work together.

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