Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a consortium of European fashion brands and retailers, has decided to conduct boiler safety inspection in more than 1,600 readymade garment factories from next month.
Earlier, the platform conducted structural, fire and electrical safety assessment in the factories and then it announced that boiler safety would be conducted in all Accord covered factories and findings would be included in the factories’ corrective action plan as multiple disastrous boiler explosions took place in the RMG factories in Bangladesh.
Country’s apparel makers, however, opposed the Accord’s plan to integrate boiler safety inspection in its programme saying that it was not right time as most of the factories have nearly completed their remediation.
Meanwhile, Accord said that between September–December in last year, the platform conducted a pilot boiler safety programme at 17 factories.
As a part of the pilot programme, 35 boilers were inspected by a qualified international engineering firm, accompanied by a small group of Accord engineers and found significant boiler safety hazards including non-compliant or missing boiler components and a lack of certification.
‘In response to the findings revealed through the Pilot Programme, the Accord Steering Committee decided that all Accord-covered factories should be inspected for boiler safety,’ the platform recently announced in a report.
It said that boiler safety findings would be included in the factories’ CAPs, the completion of which was being monitored by the Accord and the responsible company signatories.
The Accord would commence conducting initial boiler safety inspections at Accord-covered factories in September 2019, the buyers’ platform said.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Rubana Huq told reporters that the boiler inspection might lead confusion as the inspection was not integrated into the National Tripartite Plan of Action.
She said that the BGMEA could not accept the Accord’s plan to integrate boiler safety in their inspection programme as it was too late and many factories had nearly completed their remediation as per the standard set by the platform.
Rubana said that it would not be possible for Accord to conduct the inspection in the next 10 months’ time frame.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse on April 24, 2013, that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garments workers, EU retailers formed the Accord undertaking a five-year plan, which set timeframes and accountability for inspections and training and workers empowerment programmes.
At the same time, North American brands and retailers formed Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the platform inspected some 700 factories.
The five-year timeframe of Accord expired on May 31, 2018 and the platform got six months extension as transition period.
Letter on, the Supreme Court allowed Accord to run its operation in Bangladesh for 281 working days since May 8 this year.
On the other hand Alliance left Bangladesh on December 31, 2018 year after the end of its tenure.
Source: New Age.