There is no other remedy for curbing fire incidences in readymade garment factories in Bangladesh except enforcing a law requiring adherence and improvement in compliances relating to construction of factory buildings, fire fighting provisions within the premises and imparting fire-fighting training to the workers.
This was the unanimous outcome of a roundtable conference on ‘Strategies to reduce fire risk in the Bangladesh garment industry’, organized by the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) in Dhaka.
The conference was attended by several Bangladesh garment industry stakeholders, including representatives from concerned Ministries, European Union, Fire Service and Civil Defence, buyers, suppliers, insurance corporations and other stakeholders.
Stressing on the need for Government action to ensure fire protection at the clothing factories to avert any fire incidences, Labour and Employment Secretary Mikhail Shipar said the Government has taken many steps in this regard and has even constituted a tripartite committee having representatives of the Government, factory owners and workers.
The committee has undertaken a survey to ascertain the level of compliance in the garment industry and to find ways to enhance safety by upgrading the security system, he said.
Noting that the Government is taking firm steps to ensure compliance, Mr. Shipar said six officials of concerned government inspection body have also been suspended temporarily for negligence of duty.
Around 293 fire incidences were reported at RMG factories in Bangladesh during 2009. The frequency of fire accidents reduced a bit in subsequent years, and around 222, 175 and 97 incidences were reported in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.
The latest incident that occurred at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia near Dhaka on November 24 last year claimed over 110 lives.