(c) 2018 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 31, 2013

CDC Reports Hospital Infections (MRSA) Can be Dramatically Reduced With Soap and Water

Many injured workers, and other hospital patients, reportedly contract compensable serious hospital infection as a result of poor hygiene. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that increased use of better hygiene in hospitals will dramatically improve the problem of contracting hospital infections.

English: Magnified 20,000X, this colorized sca...
English: Magnified 20,000X, this colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicts a grouping of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria. See PHIL 617 for a black and white view of this image. These S. aureus bacteria are methicillin-resistant, and are from one of the first isolates in the U.S. that showed increased resistance to vancomycin as well. Note the increase in cell wall material seen as clumps on the organisms’ surface. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today, on CDC's Safe Healthcare blog, lead author of the REDUCE MRSA trial, Dr. Susan Huang, discusses the results of the landmarkstudy and provides insight into what the findings mean for infection prevention and patient safety. The REDUCE MRSA trial found that using germ-killing soap and ointment on all intensive-care unit (ICU) patients could reduce bloodstream infections by up to 44 percent and significantly reduce the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in ICUs.

Dr. Huang is an Associate Professor at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine and Medical Director of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention at UC Irvine Health.

Join the conversation at

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

US Publishes Guidelines to Minimize Distracted Driving

Transportation accidents rank on the top of the list for worker fatalities. Now the federal government is attempting to reduce that number by restricting distractions while driving.driving. Voluntary guidelines reduce visual-manual distraction - the greatest safety risk to drivers in NHTSA's new study

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today released distraction guidelines that

encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risk connected to electronic devices built into their vehicles, such as communications, entertainment and navigation devices.

"Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic that has devastating consequences on our nation's roadways," said Secretary LaHood. "These guidelines recognize that today's drivers appreciate technology, while providing automakers with a way to balance the innovation consumers want with the safety we all need. Combined with good laws, good enforcement and good education, these guidelines can save lives."

Friday, May 24, 2013

Cancer Alley: NJ Meadowlands to be Tested for Cancer Causing Substances

The area around the NJ Turnpike has long been called "Cancer Alley," the the US EPA is now going to investigate past dumping of cancer causing substances in the New Jersey Meadowlands near the Hackensack River.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a legal agreement with

Apogent Transition Corp., Beazer East, Inc., Cooper Industries, LLC and Occidental Chemical Corporation to conduct a study of the contamination at the Standard Chlorine Chemical Company, Inc. Superfund site in Kearny, New Jersey as part of the cleanup plan for the site. The site, which is in the New Jersey Meadowlands and is next to the Hackensack River, is contaminated with a number of hazardous chemicals including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxin. The study of the nature and extent of the contamination and an evaluation of potential cleanup methods are essential steps in the cleanup process. The estimated value of the study work is $750,000. The companies will also pay for the EPA’s costs in overseeing the performance of the study.

Fish consumption advisories have been issued for the Hackensack River due to the PCBs and dioxin contamination, originating in part from the Standard Chlorine site. PCBs are likely cancer causing chemicals and can have serious neurological effects. Exposure to dioxin can also result in serious health effects, including cancer.

“This agreement marks an important step in the cleanup of the Standard Chlorine Chemical site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Today’s agreement illustrates how the Superfund law works to make polluters, not taxpayers, pay to clean up sites like this one.”

The 25-acre site was formerly used for chemical manufacturing by various companies from the early 1900s to the 1990s. Operations at the site included the refinement of naphthalene for use in the production of certain industrial products, the processing of liquid petroleum naphthalene and the manufacturing of lead-acid batteries, drain-cleaner products and the packing of dichlorobenzene products. The soil, ground water and two lagoons were contaminated with dioxin, benzene, naphthalene, PCBs and volatile organic compounds. The site was originally littered with tanks and drums containing hazardous substances including dioxin and asbestos. Prior to placement on the Superfund list, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection sampled and studied the site and partially cleaned it up along with instituting measures to contain the pollution in the short-term. At the request of the NJDEP, the EPA added the site to the Superfund list in September 2007.

EPA Adds the Riverside Industrial Park in Newark, New Jersey to the Superfund List

Seven Acre Site along the Passaic River Contaminated with PCBs and Volatile Organic Compounds

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added the Riverside Industrial Park in Newark, New Jersey to the Superfund National Priorities List of the country’s most hazardous waste sites. After a 2009 spill of oily material from the industrial park into the Passaic River, the EPA discovered that chemicals, including benzene, mercury, chromium and arsenic, were improperly stored at the site. The agency took emergency actions to prevent further release of these chemicals into the river. Further investigation showed that soil, ground water and tanks at the Riverside Industrial Park are contaminated with volatile organic compounds and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Benzene, mercury, chromium and arsenic are all highly toxic and can cause serious damage to people’s health and the environment. Many volatile organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals and can cause cancer in people. Polychlorinated biphenyls are chemicals that persist in the environment and can affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and are potentially cancer-causing.

EPA proposed the site to the Superfund list in September 2012 and encouraged the public to comment during a 60-day public comment period. After considering public comments and receiving the support of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for listing the site, the EPA is putting it on the Superfund list.

“The EPA has kept people out of immediate danger from this contaminated industrial park and can now develop long-term plans to protect the community,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “By adding the site to the Superfund list, the EPA can do the extensive investigation needed to determine the best ways to clean up the contamination and protect public health.”

Since the early 1900s, the Riverside Industrial Park, at 29 Riverside Avenue in Newark, has been used by many businesses, including a paint manufacturer, a packaging company and a chemical warehouse. The site covers approximately seven acres and contains a variety of industrial buildings, some of which are vacant. In 2009, at the request of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the EPA responded to an oil spill on the Passaic River that was eventually traced to the Riverside Avenue site. The state and the city of Newark requested the EPA’s help in assessing the contamination at the site and performing emergency actions to identify and stop the source of the spill. 

The EPA plugged discharge pipes from several buildings and two tanks that were identified as the source of the contamination. In its initial assessment of the site, the EPA also found ten abandoned 12,000 to 15,000 gallon underground storage tanks containing hazardous waste, approximately one hundred 3,000 to 10,000 gallon aboveground storage tanks, two tanks containing oily waste, as well as dozens of 55-gallon drums and smaller containers. These containers held a variety of hazardous industrial waste and solvents. Two underground tanks and most of the other containers were removed by the EPA in 2012. 

The EPA periodically proposes sites to the Superfund list and, after responding to public comments, designates them as final Superfund sites. The Superfund final designation makes them eligible for funds to conduct long-term cleanups. 

The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. After sites are placed on the Superfund list of the most contaminated waste sites, the EPA searches for parties responsible for the contamination and holds them accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. The search for the parties responsible for the contamination at the Riverside Industrial Park site is ongoing.
For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.  Click here now to submit a case inquiry.

Read more about the EPA:
Apr 19, 2013
"U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action officials did not complete planned corrective actions under its Libby Action Plan in a timely manner. This occurred because the scope of the work was larger than originally ...
Feb 21, 2013
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined six Arizona school districts a combined total of $94,575 for Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) violations. More than 15,000 children attend the 25 ...
Mar 07, 2013
Today the PBS NEWSHOUR airs a documentary, EPA Contaminated by Conflict of Interest, on how the chemical Industry is quietly delaying implementation of regulation of Chromium VI. The compound, hexavalent chromium, ...
Mar 14, 2013
Poisoned Water: Chromium IV - What the EPA Hasn't Done. Corporate water pollution in the US is the subject of a current PBS-TV (Public Broadcasting Network) series. In part one of a two-part series, PBS NewsHour Science ...

Doctors and hospitals’ use of health IT more than doubles since 2012

More than half of America’s doctors have adopted electronic health records
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced that more than half of all doctors and other eligible providers have received Medicare or Medicaid incentive payments for adopting or meaningfully using electronic health records (EHRs).
HHS has met and exceeded its goal for 50 percent of doctor offices and 80 percent of eligible hospitals to have EHRs by the end of 2013.
Adoption of Electronic Health Records by Physicians and Other Providers - Click for larger graphSince the Obama administration started encouraging providers to adopt EHRs, usage has increased dramatically. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey in 2012, the percent of physicians using an advanced EHR system was just 17 percent in 2008. Today, more than 50 percent of eligible professionals (mostly physicians) have demonstrated meaningful use and received an incentive payment. For hospitals, just nine percent had adopted EHRs in 2008, but today, more than 80 percent have demonstrated meaningful use of EHRs.
“We have reached a tipping point in adoption of electronic health records,” said Secretary Sebelius. “More than half of eligible professionals and 80 percent of eligible hospitals have adopted these systems, which are critical to modernizing our health care system. Health IT helps providers better coordinate care, which can improve patients’ health and save money at the same time.”
Adoption of Electronic Health Records by Eligible Hospitals - Click for larger graphThe Obama administration has encouraged the adoption of health IT starting with the passage of the Recovery Act in 2009 because it is an integral element of health care quality and efficiency improvements. Doctors, hospitals, and other eligible providers that adopt and meaningfully use certified electronic health records receive incentive payments through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. Part of the Recovery Act, these programs began in 2011 and are administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology.
Adoption of EHRs is also critical to the broader health care improvement efforts that have started as a result of the Affordable Care Act. These efforts – improving care coordination, reducing duplicative tests and procedures, and rewarding hospitals for keeping patients healthier – all made possible by widespread use of EHRs. Health IT systems give doctors, hospitals, and other providers the ability to better coordinate care and reduce errors and readmissions that can cost more money and leave patients less healthy. In turn, efforts to improve care coordination and efficiency create further incentive for providers to adopt health IT.
As of the end of April 2013:
  • More than 291,000 eligible professionals and over 3,800 eligible hospitals have received incentive payments from the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.
  • Approximately 80 percent of all eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals in the U.S. have received an incentive payment for adopting, implementing, upgrading, or meaningfully using an EHR.
  • More than half of physicians and other eligible professionals in the U.S. have received an incentive payment for adopting, implementing, upgrading, or meaningfully using an EHR.
For more information about the Administration’s efforts to promote implementation, adoption and meaningful use of EHRs and health IT systems, please visit: and
For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.  Click here now to submit a case inquiry.
Read more about "Medical Records" and workers' compensation
Aug 23, 2011
The lack privacy of medical records in workers' compensation claims has perpetually been a huge concern for workers since Congress ignored requests to protect their dissemination. A recent disclosure in California that the ...
May 16, 2013
The lack privacy of medical records in workers' compensation claims has perpetually been a huge concern for workers since Congress ignored requests to protect their dissemination. A recent disclosure in California that the .
Oct 04, 2011
The Need to Incorporate Occupational Histories Into Electronic Medical Records. Each year in the United States, more than 4,000 occupational fatalities and more than 3 million occupational injuries occur along with more ...
Mar 11, 2013
They can pour over your medical records, pre- and post-injury, looking for any piece of evidence to deny your claim. They can send your file to lawyers who review medical records and recorded statements to potentially attack ...

California Study Reveals Occupational Asthma Is A Major Problem

"It is estimated that over 974,000 adults in California have asthma that has been  caused or aggravated by their work, but work-related asthma (WRA) is often not recognized or diagnosed."

Work-related asthma (WRA) is under-recognized and often undiagnosed, but a new report
estimates that nearly a million adults in California have had work-related asthma. “Asthma in California: A Surveillance Report” tracks asthma data for the state of California, and includes a chapter on WRA. The updated chapter includes rates of WRA by industry and occupation, types of exposure, measures of the impact of WRA, and data on the characteristics of people with WRA, such as gender and age.

View WRA chapter: Work-related asthma (PDF)

View entire report: Asthma in California: A Surveillance Report (PDF, 6 MB)

View executive summary: Asthma in California: Executive Summary (PDF)

For more information on OHB work in this area, see Tracking Work-Related Asthma

For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.  Click here now to submit a case inquiry.

Read more about "asthma" and workers' compensation
Oct 11, 2011
A recent study of pregnant working women reveals that their exposure to occupational pollution results in their children's development of asthma. The report was presented at the Eastern European Respiratory's annual ...
Oct 25, 2010
"Included in the study were thirteen cleaning employees with work-related asthma-like symptoms, three asthmatic controls and three atopic subjects without bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) who had no exposure to ...
Jun 18, 2010
However, in some conditions such as occupational asthma, a past history of childhood asthma and/or asthmatic attacks occurring before occupational exposure, does notautomatically rule out the possibility of a workplace ...
Jan 17, 2013
These pollutants are linked to health problems, including asthma, lung and heart disease and even premature death. Diesel engines are durable and often remain in use a long time. Older diesels that predate current and ...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Don't Fry Friday - May 24th

Workers need to be aware about skin cancer and take preventative action to protect themselves from the sun's rays

Skin Cancer Remains the Most Common Cancer in US, Americans Urged to Take Action/EPA, CDC, FDA, National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention provide sun safety tips for 'Don’t Fry Day': May 24th

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), joined by the National Council on Skin Cancer
Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is recognizing the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day”, to encourage Americans to take a few simple steps to protect their health and prevent skin cancer throughout the summer.

“While we’re making progress toward restoring the Earth’s ozone layer, Americans need to take steps now for extra protection from harmful UV rays and skin cancer,” said Janet McCabe, deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Americans can stay safe under the sun and enjoy the outdoors by taking simple steps such as using sunscreen and wearing UV-blocking sunglasses.”

“If current trends continue, one in five Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime, and many of these skin cancers could be prevented by reducing UV exposure from the sun and indoor tanning devices,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Of particular concern is the increase we are seeing in rates of melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer. In the United States, melanoma is one of the most common cancers among people ages 15 to 29 years.”

“Spending time in the sun increases the risk of skin cancer. Everyone can get sunburned and suffer harmful effects of exposure to UV radiation from time spent outdoors,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “Consumers can protect themselves by choosing a sunscreen that is right for them, wearing protective clothing and limiting time in the sun.”
To make it easier for people to choose products that effectively reduce the health risks of UV overexposure, the FDA has issued new labeling rules for sunscreen products. These include:
  • Sunscreens proven to protect against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays can be labeled “Broad Spectrum.” Both UVB and UVA radiation contribute to the sun’s damaging effects.
  • Sunscreen products that meet the criteria for being called “Broad Spectrum” and have a Sunscreen Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher may state that they reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging when used as directed with other sun protection measures.
  • Any product that is not “Broad Spectrum,” or has an SPF below 15, must have a warning stating that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging. 
  • New water resistance claims on the front label must indicate whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating.

    In addition to using Broad Spectrum sunscreen, here are some tips to help enjoy the outdoors safely this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer:
  • Seek shade, not sun: Seek the shade when the sun’s rays are strongest; avoid sunburns, intentional tanning, and use of tanning beds; use extra caution near reflective surfaces like water and sand.
  • Wear protective clothing: Wear sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Check the UV Index: EPA and the National Weather Service offer the UV Index--an hourly forecast of UV radiation that allows Americans to plan outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. Download EPA's free UV Index app at
Nations across the globe have made steady progress toward restoring the Earth’s protective ozone layer through the groundbreaking environmental treaty called the Montreal Protocol. Signed by 197 countries, including the U.S. government, the Protocol is successfully working to phase out ozone-depleting substances. Scientists predict that the ozone layer will recover later this century. 
According to the CDC, the states with the highest melanoma death rates include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and West Virginia. Americans are encouraged to learn more about skin cancer in their states at

More on EPA sun safety tips:
More on the Montreal Protocol:
More on FDA sunscreen labeling rules:

More on CDC skin cancer prevention efforts: and cancer statistics:

More on the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention:
Read more about "skin cancer" and workers' compensation:
May 06, 2013
Many workers suffer from compensable diseases caused by sun exposure. As the world's ozone layer continues to be deleted, More and more workers wo who have exposed to the sun on their jobs are suffering from sun ...
Jun 21, 2011
The first day of summer brings attention to working outside, sun exposure and the risk of skin cancer. Workers Compensation coverage offers a unique opportunity to provide affirmative action to prevent, detect and treat high ...
Nov 05, 2012
Workers' Compensation: Sun Exposure, Prevention and Workers ... Jun 21, 2011. Sun Exposure ... The first day of summer brings attention to working outside, sun exposure and the risk of skin cancer. Workers Compensation ...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Just Go to The Emergency Room

Emergency room medicine is becoming an easy avenue for work-related medical care as employers and insurance carriers keep restricting traditional medical care access. Over the past decades it is becoming increasingly difficult for workers who have suffered occupational accidents or diseases to obtain quick, efficient and authorized diagnostic services and medical treatment.

A recent RAND study now validates that an alternate route is increasingly being used to access the medical care system, the emergency room. Few restrictions exists to enter an emergency room door. The red tape imposed by insurance carriers is eliminated, and the concept of deny and delay are non-existent in emergency room medicine.

Hospital emergency departments play a growing role in the U.S. health care system, accounting for a rising proportion of hospital admissions and serving increasingly as an advanced diagnostic center for primary care physicians, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

While often targeted as the most expensive place to get medical care, emergency rooms remain an important safety net for Americans who cannot get care elsewhere and may play a role in slowing the growth of health care costs, according to the study.

Emergency departments are now responsible for about half of all hospital admissions in the United States, accounting for nearly all of the growth in hospital admissions experienced between 2003 and 2009.

Despite evidence that people with chronic conditions such as asthma and heart failure are visiting emergency departments more frequently, the number of hospital admissions for these conditions has remained flat. Researchers say that suggests that emergency rooms may help to prevent some avoidable hospital admissions.

"Use of hospital emergency departments is growing faster than the use of other parts of the American medical system," said Dr. Art Kellermann, the study's senior author and a senior researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "While more can be done to reduce the number of unnecessary visits to emergency rooms, our research suggests emergency rooms can play a key role in limiting growth of preventable hospital admissions."

Monday, May 20, 2013

The International Call for Fashion Safety - Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

MAY 13, 2013 
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

The undersigned parties are committed to the goal of a safe and sustainable Bangladeshi ReadyMade Garment ("RMG") industry in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses, or 
other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures. 
The signatories to this Agreement agree to establish a fire and building safety program in 
Bangladesh for a period of five years. 

The programme will build on the National Action Plan on Fire Safety (NAP), which expressly 
welcomes the development and implementation by any stakeholder of any other activities that 
would constitute a meaningful contribution to improving fire safety in Bangladesh. The 
signatories commit to align this programme and its activities with the NAP and to ensure a close 
collaboration, including for example by establishing common programme, liaison and advisory 

The signatories also welcome a strong role for the International Labour Organization (ILO), 
through the Bangladesh office as well as through international programmes, to ensure that both 
the National Action Plan, and the programme foreseen by the signatories of this Agreement, get 

The signatories shall develop and agree an Implementation Plan within 45 days of signing this 
Agreement. The nongovernmental organisations which are signatories to the Joint Memorandum 
of Understanding on Fire and Building Safety (dated March 15, 2012), having stated their 
intention to support the implementation of this programme, shall, at their own election, be signed 
witnesses to this Agreement. 

This Agreement commits the signatories to finance and implement a programme that will take 
cognizance of the Practical Activities described in the NAP involving, at minimum, the following 

SCOPE: The agreement covers all suppliers producing products for the signatory companies. 
The signatories shall designate these suppliers as falling into the following categories, according 
to which they shall require these supplier to accept inspections and implement remediation 
measures in their factories according to the following breakdown: 

1. Safety inspections, remediation and fire safety training at facilities representing, in the 
aggregate, not less than 30%, approximately, of each signatory company’s annual 
production in Bangladesh by volume (“Tier 1 factories”).

2. Inspection and remediation at any remaining major or long-term suppliers to each 
company (“Tier 2 factories”). Together, Tier 1 and Tier 2 factories shall represent not less 
than 65%, approximately, of each signatory company’s production in Bangladesh by 

3. Limited initial inspections to identify high risks at facilities with occasional orders, onetime orders or those for which a company’s orders represent less than 10% of the MAY 13, 2013 
factory’s production in Bangladesh by volume (“Tier 3 factories”). Nothing in this 
paragraph shall be deemed to alleviate the obligation of each signatory company to 
ensure that those factories it designates as Tier 3 represent, in the aggregate, no more than 
35%, approximately, of its production in Bangladesh by volume. Facilities determined, as 
a result of initial inspection, to be high risk shall be subject to the same treatment as if 
they were Tier 2 factories. 


4. The signatories shall appoint a Steering Committee (SC) with equal representation 
chosen by the trade union signatories and company signatories (maximum 3 seats each) 
and a representative from and chosen by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as a 
neutral chair. The SC shall have responsibility for the selection, contracting, 
compensation and review of the performance of a Safety Inspector and a Training 
Coordinator; oversight and approval of the programme budget; oversight of financial 
reporting and hiring of auditors; and such other management duties as may be required. 
The SC will strive to reach decision by consensus, but, in the absence of consensus, 
decisions will be made by majority vote. In order to develop the activity of the SC, a 
Governance regulation will be developed. 

5. Dispute resolution. Any dispute between the parties to, and arising under, the terms of 
this Agreement shall first be presented to and decided by the SC, which shall decide the 
dispute by majority vote of the SC within a maximum of 21 days of a petition being filed by 
one of the parties. Upon request of either party, the decision of the SC may be appealed to 
a final and binding arbitration process. Any arbitration award shall be enforceable in a 
court of law of the domicile of the signatory against whom enforcement is sought and 
shall be subject to The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign 
Arbitral Awards (The New York Convention), where applicable. The process for binding 
arbitration, including, but not limited to, the allocation of costs relating to any arbitration 
and the process for selection of the Arbitrator, shall be governed by the UNCITRAL 
Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration 1985 (with amendments as adopted 
in 2006). 

6. The signatories shall appoint an Advisory Board involving brands and retailers, suppliers, 
government institutions, trade unions, and NGOs. . The advisory board will ensure all 
stakeholders, local and international, can engage in constructive dialogue with each other 
and provide feedback and input to the SC, thereby enhancing quality, efficiency, 
credibility and synergy. The SC will consult the parties to the NAP to determine the 
feasibility of a shared advisory structure. 

7. Administration and management of the programme will be developed by the SC in 
consultation with the 'High-Level Tripartite Committee' established to implement and 
oversee the National Action Plan on Fire Safety, as well as with the Ministry of Labour 
and Employment of Bangladesh (MoLE), the ILO and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für 
Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), to maximize synergy at operational level; 
and the SC may make use of the offices of GIZ for administrative coordination and 


8. A qualified Safety Inspector, with fire and building safety expertise and impeccable 
credentials, and who is independent of and not concurrently employed by companies, 
trade unions or factories, shall be appointed by the SC. Providing the Chief Inspector acts 
in a manner consistent with his or her mandate under the provisions of this Agreement, 
and unless there is clear evidence of malfeasance or incompetence on his or her part, the 
SC shall not restrict or otherwise interfere with the Chief Inspector’s performance of the 
duties set forth in the Agreement as he or she sees fit, including the scheduling of 
inspections and the publishing of reports.

9. Thorough and credible safety inspections of Tier 1, 2 and 3 factories shall be carried out 
by skilled personnel selected by and acting under the direction of the Safety Inspector, 
based on internationally recognized workplace safety standards and/or national standards 
(once the review foreseen under the NAP is completed in June 2013). The Safety 
Inspector shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that an initial inspection of each 
factory covered by this Agreement shall be carried out within the first two years of the 
term of this Agreement. The Safety Inspector will be available to provide input into the 
NAP legislative review and to support capacity building work regarding inspections by 
the MoLE foreseen under the NAP. 

10. Where a signatory company’s inspection programme, in the opinion of the Safety 
Inspector, meets or exceeds the standards of thorough and credible inspections, as defined 
by the Safety Inspector, it will be considered an integral part of the programme activities 
set forth in this Agreement. Signatory companies wishing to have their inspection 
programme so considered shall provide the Safety Inspector full access to the findings of 
their inspections and he or she will integrate these into reporting and remediation 
activities. Notwithstanding this provision, all factories within the scope of this Agreement 
shall still be subject to all the provisions of this Agreement, including but not limited to a 
least one safety inspection carried out by personnel acting under the direction of the 
Safety Inspector. 

11. Written Inspection Reports of all factories inspected under the programme shall be 
prepared by the Safety Inspector within two (2) weeks of the date of inspection and 
shared upon completion with factory management, the factory’s health and safety 
committee, worker representatives (where one or more unions are present), signatory 
companies and the SC. Where, in the opinion of the Safety Inspector, there is not a 
functioning health and safety committee at the factory, the report will be shared with the 
unions which are the signatories to this Agreement. Within a timeline agreed by the SC, 
but no greater than six weeks, the Safety Inspector shall disclose the Inspection Report to 
the public, accompanied by the factory’s remediation plan, if any. In the event that, in 
the opinion of the Safety Inspector, the inspection identifies a severe and imminent 
danger to worker safety, he or she shall immediately inform factory management, the 
factory’s health and safety committee, worker representatives (where one or more unions 
are present), the Steering Committee and unions which are signatories to this Agreement, 
and direct a remediation plan.

12. Where corrective actions are identified by the Safety Inspector as necessary to bring a 
factory into compliance with building, fire and electrical safety standards, the signatory 
company or companies that have designated that factory as a Tier 1, 2, or 3 supplier, shall 
require that factory to implement these corrective actions, according to a schedule that is 
mandatory and time-bound, with sufficient time allotted for all major renovations.
13. Signatory companies shall require their supplier factories that are inspected under the 
Program to maintain workers’ employment relationship and regular income during any 
period that a factory (or portion of a factory) is closed for renovations necessary to 
complete such Corrective Actions for a period of no longer than six months. . Failure to 
do so may trigger a notice, warning and ultimately termination of the business 
relationship as described in paragraph 21. 

14. Signatory companies shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that any workers whose 
employment is terminated as a result of any loss of orders at a factory are offered 
employment with safe suppliers, if necessary by actively working with other suppliers to 
provide hiring preferences to these workers.

15. Signatory companies shall require their supplier factories to respect the right of a worker 
to refuse work that he or she has reasonable justification to believe is unsafe, without 
suffering discrimination or loss of pay, including the right to refuse to enter or to remain 
inside a building that he or she has reasonable justification to believe is unsafe for 

16. The Training Coordinator appointed by the SC shall establish an extensive fire and building 
safety training program. The training program shall be delivered by a selected skilled 
personnel by the Training Coordinator at Tier 1 facilities for workers, managers and 
security staff to be delivered with involvement of trade unions and specialized local 
experts. These training programmes shall cover basic safety procedures and precautions, 
as well as enable workers to voice concerns and actively participate in activities to ensure 
their own safety. Signatory companies shall require their suppliers to provide access to 
their factories to training teams designated by the Training Coordinator that include 
safety training experts as well as qualified union representatives to provide safety training 
to workers and management on a regular basis. 

17. Health and Safety Committees shall be required by the signatory companies in all 
Bangladesh factories that supply them, which shall function in accordance with 
Bangladeshi law, and be comprised of workers and managers from the applicable factory. 
Worker members shall comprise no less than 50% of the committee and shall be chosen 
by the factory’s trade union, if present, and by democratic election among the workers 
where there is no trade union present.

18. The Safety Inspector shall establish a worker complaint process and mechanism that 
ensures that workers from factories supplying signatory companies can raise in a timely 
fashion concerns about health and safety risks, safely and confidentially, with the Safety 
Inspector. This should be aligned with the Hotline to be established under the NAP. 

19. The SC shall make publicly available and regularly update information on key aspects of 
the programme, including:

a. a single aggregated list of all suppliers in Bangladesh (including sub-contractors) 
used by the signatory companies, based on data which shall be provided to the SC 
and regularly updated by each of the signatory companies, and which shall 
indicate which factories on this list have been designated by that company as Tier 
1 factories and which have been designated by that company as Tier 2 factories, 
however volume data and information linking specific companies to specific 
factories will be kept confidential, 

b. Written Inspection Reports, which shall be developed by the Safety Inspector for 
all factories inspected under this programme, shall be disclosed to interested 
parties and the public as set forth in paragraph 11 of this Agreement. 
Public statements by the Safety Inspector identifying any factory that is not acting 
expeditiously to implement remedial recommendations. 

c. Quarterly Aggregate Reports that summarize both aggregated industry 
compliance data as well as a detailed review of findings, remedial 
recommendations, and progress on remediation to date for all factories at which 
inspections have been completed.

20. The signatories to this Agreement shall work together with other organizations such as ILO 
and the High-Level Tripartite Committee and the Bangladeshi Government to encourage 
the establishment of a protocol seeking to ensure that suppliers which participate fully in 
the inspection and remediation activities of this Agreement shall not be penalised as a 
result of the transparency provisions of this Agreement. The objectives of the protocol 
are to (i) support and motivate the employer to take remediation efforts in the interest of 
the workforce and the sector and (ii) expedite prompt legal action where the supplier 
refuses to undertake the remedial action required to become compliant with national law. 

21. Each signatory company shall require that its suppliers in Bangladesh participate fully in 
the inspection, remediation, health and safety and, where applicable, training activities, as 
described in the Agreement. If a supplier fails to do so, the signatory will promptly
implement a notice and warning process leading to termination of the business 
relationship if these efforts do not succeed. 

22. In order to induce Tier 1 and Tier 2 factories to comply with upgrade and remediation 
requirements of the program, participating brands and retailers will negotiate commercial terms 
with their suppliers which ensure that it is financially feasible for the factories to maintain safe 
workplaces and comply with upgrade and remediation requirements instituted by the Safety 
Inspector. Each signatory company may, at its option, use alternative means to ensure factories 
have the financial capacity to comply with remediation requirements, including but not limited to 
joint investments, providing loans, accessing donor or government support, through offering 
business incentives or through paying for renovations directly. 

23. Signatory companies to this agreement are committed to maintaining long-term sourcing 
relationships with Bangladesh, as is demonstrated by their commitment to this five-year 
programme. Signatory companies shall continue business at order volumes comparable to or 
greater than those that existed in the year preceding the inception of this Agreement with Tier 1 
and Tier 2 factories at least through the first two years of the term of this Agreement, provided 
that (a) such business is commercially viable for each company and (b) the factory continues to 
substantially meet the company’s terms and comply with the company’s requirements of its 
supplier factories under this agreement. 

24. In addition to their obligations pursuant to this Agreement, signatory companies shall 
also assume responsibility for funding the activities of the SC, Safety Inspector and 
Training Coordinator as set forth in this Agreement, with each company contributing its 
equitable share of the funding in accordance with a formula to be established in the 
Implementation Plan. The SC shall be empowered to seek contributions from 
governmental and other donors to contribute to costs. Each signatory company shall 
contribute funding for these activities in proportion to the annual volume of each 
company’s garment production in Bangladesh relative to the respective annual volumes 
of garment production of the other signatory companies, subject to a maximum 
contribution of $500,000 per year for each year of the term of this Agreement. A sliding 
scale of minimum contributions based on factors such as revenues and annual volume in 
Bangladesh will be defined in the Implementation Plan with annual revisions, while 
ensuring sufficient funding for the adequate implementation of the Accord and the Plan. 

25. The SC shall ensure that there are credible, robust, and transparent procedures for the 
accounting and oversight of all contributed funds.

See also: 

Public Outrage Over Factory Conditions Spurs Labor Deal (NY Times) 


UNI Global Press Release

Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are waking up to the fact they must take an initiative on Bangladesh garment factory safety.
Global commerce union leaders are urging all governments to commit to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety and push for its speedy implementation. 

The Netherlands Government has called on Dutch retailers to sign the Accord and discussed financial support to improve conditions for the Bangladeshi garment industry. Other European governments, notably France, Denmark and Norway have also shown support. In the U.S. a group of leading Senators has written to retail CEOs who have not signed up, including Walmart and Gap, urging them to reconsider.

The legally binding Accord, driven by IndustriALL and UNI Global Union and the NGOs, the Clean Clothes Campaign and the Worker Rights Consortium, has a critical mass of support from leading retailers around the world with more than 35 brands confirmed:

H&M, Inditex, C&A, PVH, Tchibo, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Primark, El Corte Inglés, jbc, Mango, Carrefour, KiK, Helly Hansen, G-Star, Aldi, New Look, Mothercare, Loblaws, Sainsbury’s, Benetton, N Brown Group, Stockmann, WE Europe, Esprit, Rewe, Next, Lidl, Hess Natur, Switcher, Abercrombie & Fitch, John Lewis, Charles Vögele, V&D, Otto Group, s.Oliver, Bonmarche, HEMA, Comtex.

UNI Global Union General Secretary, Philip Jennings said, “There can be no excuses from the retail sector for not signing up to the Accord, when Walmart alone spends $2.5 billion per year on advertising and Gap $653 million.” 

The trade unions committed to take the message back to their home governments to insist the retail sector backs the deal and that grass root members of parliament mobilise to support it.

Union leaders said it was time for governments to step up.

Per Tønnesen, President of the Danish union HK HANDEL said, “We welcome the fact that the Danish Trade Minister has raised the Bangladesh Factory Safety deal and shown support. This is an important step to convince Danish brands to sign the Accord. All Danish retail companies must be urged to support the Accord. HK HANDEL is looking forward to playing its part in rolling out the implementation plan and the governments should be on-board.” 

John Hannett, General Secretary of USDAW in the UK and President of UNI Europa Commerce said, “The British Government must get behind the Bangladeshi Safety deal but so must politicians of every political persuasion. The big UK retailers have shown their support for the Accord and now it’s up to the politicians to help convince those who have not yet signed. The French Commerce Minister has called on companies, unions and NGOs to come together to discuss concrete steps to improve factory safety in Bangladesh and the Dutch have made their position clear and are considering financial support – the UK must not drag its heels.” 

Michael Bride, of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union of North America said, "We applaud the group of eight U.S. Senators, led by Sherrod Brown, Tom Harkin and Dick Durbin, for calling on those brands yet to sign the Accord to reconsider. U.S. corporations should understand that their efforts to excuse themselves from human rights obligations which companies elsewhere have signed up to will be neither easily forgotten nor forgiven. The U.S. Government has a responsibility to ensure that companies located in its jurisdiction are not permitted to adhere to a lesser standard on human rights and safety than companies in the rest of the world."

The shoe factory collapse in Cambodia earlier this week has underlined that factory safety is not an issue confined to Bangladesh and that such an agreement is vital for the whole retail industry.