Haiti's garment factories are unsafe for their workers, often lacking marked fire exits, safe drinking water and sufficient toilets, a labor group said Wednesday.
A study by the Geneva-based Better Work organization looked at working conditions in 23 Haitian factories from May to August. It found 13 workplaces were not sufficiently lighted, and 11 failed to clearly mark emergency exits and escape routes. Eleven factories did not have adequate fire-fighting equipment.
It also found that 21 did not have the legally required number of toilets, and the same number didn't have onsite medical facilities and staff.
Henri-Claude Muller-Poitevien, president of a government commission that oversees Haiti's assembly plants, said he welcomed the survey by the labor compliance group, which is supported by the International Labor Organization and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation.
He said his commission is working with Better Work and the fire department to mark emergency exits and install fire-fighting equipment.
"All the buildings need improvement — this is what we are doing now," Muller-Poitevien said. "We definitely want to comply with everything, but we will never be the triple-A student."
Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe responded on his blog Tuesday night to a separate report from another labor group that alleges assembly plants don't pay their workers even the minimum wage. He said the country is "continuing to build an environment that holds ourselves and...