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'Fast fashion' continues to risk workers' health: UK study
Nov '17
‘Fast fashion’ is still putting the health and well-being of garment workers worldwide at risk in spite of some improvements, research by the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom shows. Long working hours, physical exhaustion, intense work rhythms, harassment and an absence of representation are ‘invisible’ issues, says anthropologist Rebecca Prentice.

Improvement initiatives, such as the 2013 Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, haven’t gone far enough as codes of conduct narrowly focus on building safety and physical infrastructure with a bias towards what can be seen and audited, according to Geert De Neve, professor of anthropology at the university.

“Not only has the poor implementation of these codes allowed building fires and collapses to continue, but they still ignore the ways in which the health and well-being of workers is threatened on a day-to-day basis,” a university press release quoted him as saying.

In Delhi national capital region, the study found a 10-12 hour working day as the standard for 67 per cent of workers employed in informal workshops, with 39 per cent of all workers suffering from eye strain and 41 per cent from exhaustion.

In a Bangladeshi knitwear factory, the research found everyday health threats from dust and smoke inhalation, noise, lack of ventilation, musculoskeletal pain, stress and exposure to lights, electric wires and chemical adhesives.

Professor De Neve urged the ‘fast fashion’ industry to realise that workers’ health is more than just the absence of injury. People’s well-being encompasses physical, social, and mental dimensions that are threatened by the conditions they are working in, he added. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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