The North American Bangladesh Worker Safety Working Group, which is comprised of five Canadian and U.S. retail associations, reaffirmed its commitment to improving worker safety conditions in Bangladesh on Wednesday.
The “Safer Factories” intiative includes short-, medium- and long-term goals for improving worker safety in Bangladesh, the site of a recent garment factory collapse that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people.
Many Canadian and American apparel brands already require unannounced and announced factory visits, fire drills, audits and safety inspections, all of which are crucial to worker safety. The results of the visits are used to generate a plan to address safety issues.
The Safer Factories initiative relies on the cooperation and collaboration of factory owners, North American and European buyers, Bangladeshi government, workers and organized labor to develop viable solutions and implement a plan of action.
Under the plan, the industry plans to build on workplace education and safety efforts to empower workers to understand the risks, equipment and safety requirements. The plan also calls for buyers to work with the Bangladeshi government and factor owners to develop industry standards on fire and building safety.