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Five bodies commit to improve Bangla working conditions
May '13
The North American Bangladesh Worker Safety Working Group, a collaboration of five U.S. and Canadian apparel and retail trade associations, reinforced its commitment to improving worker safety in Bangladesh and outlined a broad set of proposals to further that goal.

The "Safer Factories Initiative" includes short, medium, and long-term strategic goals for moving forward with meaningful improvements to worker safety in Bangladesh. Worker safety is a top priority for the U.S. apparel and retail industries. Creating a safe work environment is essential to this effort.

The recent accidents at apparel production facilities in Bangladesh are heartbreaking and have strengthened our resolve to find practicable and sustainable solutions to ensure the safety of garment production facilities and workers in Bangladesh and the viability of the Bangladesh garment industry as a sustainable manufacturer and supplier to markets around the world.

The North American Bangladesh Worker Safety Working Group shares IndustriALL's goal to improve worker safety in Bangladesh and to making tangible progress on the ground. The Safer Factories Initiative, built on the extensive work already being conducted on the ground by brands and retailers today, goes an important step further. The Safer Factories Initiative details how the goal of improving worker safety in Bangladesh cannot only be done now, but can be sustained into the future.

Continued Commitment to Improving Worker Safety

In recent years, North American retailers and brands have dedicated significant resources to improve worker safety in Bangladesh. These efforts focus on improving worker safety today by educating and empowering workers, from implementing nationwide education campaigns and worker training to establishing worker hotlines.

Retailers and brands recognize that a comprehensive worker safety regime must be based on continuous improvement and collaborative effort among all stakeholders.

Today, many U.S. and Canadian brands and retailers require announced and unannounced factory visits, audits, fire drills, fire prevention training, and safety inspections. 

Whether conducted directly by the brand or retailer or through a verified third party firm, workplace inspections and training continue to be two of many effective mechanisms to improve worker safety.  The results of these inspections are used to generate remediation plans to address safety issues that arise out of the inspection. 

Brands and retailers have announced that they are expanding and enhancing these programs in light of the recent tragic events in Bangladesh.  Many U.S. and Canadian retailers and brands have already created zero tolerance policies with factories, established improved safety training for workers and management, and enhanced audit programs to include fire and building safety.

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