- Simone Preuss |
With the four-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster approaching in less than a week, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance) reported at a press conference last week that 72 percent of repairs have been finished and that 71 factories have completed their Corrective Action Plans (CAPs).
“72 percent of all required repairs across active Alliance factories have been completed—and this includes 64 percent of all high priority repairs,” stated Jim Moriarty, the Alliance's director. “We continue to maintain a no-tolerance policy for factories that fail to prioritise safety,” he stressed, adding that to date, a total of 142 factories affiliated with the Alliance had to be suspended due to inadequate progress on remediation - all of which are listed on the Alliance' website together with the exact reason for suspension.
About 64 percent of the repairs carried out were of the highest or high priority including critical items like structural retrofitting of columns and fire door installations. The number of factories that has completed their CAPs is expected to double in the next few months. After this first step, all factories have to undergo further steps toward improving workplace safety.
Part of the effort is also to train and re-train all employees, regardless of their role, as well as third party providers and to change their mindset from saving property (and merchandise) in case of an emergency to saving lives.
“We have also trained approximately 25,000 security guards to play a leadership role in protecting life—not property—should a building evacuation be necessary as a result of a fire or earthquake,” confirmed Moriarty. “We have also initiated a new training program for third party security guard companies. [They] especially provide security guard needs to garment factories. So far we have trained 17 well renowned security guard companies.”
Moriarty also pointed to the importance of the confidential helpline and the factories' safety committees, which currently number 140: “We consider the development and training of these committees tremendously important, as they will ensure that workers have a voice on safety within their factories long after the Alliance sun sets.”