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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Two Groups Complete Inspections of 1,700 Bangladesh Garment Factories

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Two big groups of retailers and apparel brands have completed a major step toward advancing garment-factory safety in Bangladesh: They have finished inspecting nearly 1,700 factories in that country.

A European-dominated group — the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, with 189 corporate members, including H&M and Carrefour — said on Tuesday that it had found more than 80,000 safety problems in the 1,106 factories it inspected.

The other — an American-dominated group, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety — completed inspections in July of the 587 factories that its 26 members, including Walmart, Gap and Target, use in that country.

The groups are working with Bangladeshi factory owners to promote safety and finance improvements, like fireproof doors or fire-sprinkler systems, that are required for garment factories 75 feet or taller in Bangladesh.

“We have found safety hazards in all factories, which was to be expected,” said Brad Loewen, the chief safety inspector of the Bangladesh Accord. “The safety findings have ranged from minor to significant.”

Ian Spaulding, a senior adviser to the Alliance, said: “Inspections were the easy part. Now comes the hard part.”

The Alliance estimated that it would cost $250,000 on average for safety improvements at each factory. Alan Roberts, the Accord’s executive director for international operations, said the cost for some factories would be $1 million.


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