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17 March 2014 | Will Green
A new inspection regime at garment factories in Bangladesh, launched after the Rana Plaza disaster, has so far not found “issues of a similar magnitude” to those that led to the tragedy.
Inspections - covering fire, electrical and structural risks - have taken place at 10 buildings, while inspectors plan to visit a total of 1,500 factories by September 2014.
The work is being carried out under the Bangladesh Accord Foundation (BAF), a legally-binding agreement signed by more than 150 clothing brands and retailers which source from Bangladesh and have agreed to source funds to pay for improvement works.
The BAF said: “The reports do not highlight any issues of a similar magnitude to those which caused the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in April 2013. They do identify a number of issues to be addressed and explain the steps to be taken to resolve them. Some of these steps are already underway.”
Alan Roberts, the BAF’s executive director of international operations, said: “The publication of these reports is an important milestone in the Accord’s progress and a demonstration of our commitment to transparency but it is only really the beginning of our work.
“There is a big task ahead of the inspection teams and the Accord will be working hard with signatory brands, union signatories, workers at the factories and the factory owners themselves to see that the actions the inspections identify are undertaken.”
The Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was signed on 13 May 2013 in response to the Rana Plaza factory building collapse on 24 April last year, which resulted in the deaths of 1,133 workers.