Buyer groups promoting certain fire door vendors

Allege garment factory owners but Alliance, Accord deny


Garment factory owners have alleged that in the name of ensuring fire and structural safety in the country’s apparel units the two platforms of North American and European buyers — Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and Accord on Fire and Building Safety — are promoting certain vendors and firms. Recently a number of garment factory owners have complained to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association that  they have been asked by Accord and Alliance to install safety equipments from particular vendors and to conduct detailed engineering assessment of factory buildings by certain firms. The BGMEA has recently sent letters to Accord and Alliance drawing their attention to the complaint, the association sources said. BGMEA vice-president Shahidullah Azim told New Age on Sunday that they received several allegations from factory owners who needed to conduct DEA and to install fire doors. He said that the retailers’ groups asked to install fire doors at all exits of a factory but it was a wrong concept as there was no fire door in the entry point at factories across the world. The BGMEA requested the buyers’ groups particularly Accord to review its fire code and to ask the RMG factories to install fire door at the emergency exit only. A leading garment exporter alleged that in most cases the buyers’ groups did not approve remediation plans submitted by the garment factories and did not mention the reasons for the non-approval. ‘I think either they are not technically sound or have other intention behind their decision,’ he said. Another factory owner said that Alliance welcomed the products certified by UL. ‘We did not provide any vendor list like other buyers’ group and we have no plan to provide any list in future,’ said M Rabin, managing director of Alliance. Terming the allegation of perusing RMG owners to buy UL certified doors completely false, he said fire doors certified by UL, Intertek, SM Global, BS and EU would be accepted. Replying to the BGMEA letter Rabin said, ‘Alliance never promotes a particular vendor be it for DEA or for safety equipment or certificate awarding accredited body.’ ‘Any credible certification with right level bearing unique number of all major components is acceptable,’ he replied to the BGMEA. Replying to the BGMEA letter, Accord chief safety inspector Brad Loewen said that the fire door requirements in the Accord standard were consistent with requirements throughout the world. ‘It is not only an Accord requirement, BNBC, NTC Guidelines and Alliance all require the same thing,’ he replied.

Source: New Age


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