The pace of CAP completion has accelerated dramatically during the past two years as many factories that began several years ago are now nearing completion of remediation. Nearly 1.6 million workers have been trained to protect themselves in case of a fire emergency, and the Alliance has developed local training partners to expand the training beyond Alliance-affiliated factories, said the fifth and final annual report.
The Alliance has developed local training providers to expand its worker training and safety committee programs beyond Alliance-affiliated factories and create a sustainable ecosystem of safety in Bangladesh. Worker Safety Committees have been formed and are operating in 181 factories, giving workers a seat at the table with management in resolving safety issues within their factories.
With an ecosystem of safety now in place, the Alliance is transitioning its widely renowned training programme and helpline to local partners who will continue both and expand them to additional factories throughout Bangladesh. Most Alliance member brands plan to work through a locally-based organisation to collectively monitor safety standards, training execution and helpline promotion in the factories from which they source, as consistency in the level of safety achieved under the Alliance will remain a requirement of these brands.
"In these past five years, the Alliance, our member brands and the owners of Alliance-affiliated factories have achieved unprecedented progress toward the goal of improving safety in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment industry, while simultaneously helping to solidify Bangladesh’s standing as a global leader in garment exports," said Alliance executive director Jim Moriarty. "Maintaining this progress must remain an ongoing effort—and for our member brands, it will remain a top priority long beyond the Alliance’s departure."
Another key indicator of remediation progress is the completion of high priority items, defined as safety deficiencies that are most critical to life safety, such as the lack of sprinkler systems and fire doors, or the presence of structurally unstable columns. While these items are often the most costly and burdensome to factory owners, for workers they can mean the difference between life and death. Currently, 90 per cent of these high-priority items have been completed across all Alliance-affiliated factories, a further sign of the commitment of factory owners to creating safe workplaces.
"The major sustainable impact that the Alliance and partners have made is to raise fire safety awareness in the garment sector," said Kathleen Almand, vice president, National Fire Protection Association.
More than 1.5 million workers in 1,017 factories now have access to the Alliance’s 24-hour confidential worker helpline, which has been transferred to local leadership and will soon be available to factories across the entire industry in Bangladesh.
"The US Embassy in Dhaka applauds the achievements of the Alliance, and will continue to strongly support the brands’ efforts to monitor safety and empower workers in their factories. With this work, the Alliance has set a standard for the industry to follow in Bangladesh," said US ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller.
Further, the report revealed that safety reforms have rebuilt confidence in Bangladesh among foreign buyers and solidified the country’s standing as a global leader in garment exports.
"Beginning in 2019, most Alliance member brands plan to work through a locally-based organization to collectively monitor safety in the factories from which they source. Safety must always be an ongoing effort—and for our member brands, it will remain a top priority long beyond the Alliance’s departure," Moriarty added. (RR)
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