RMG Times
বুধবার, এপ্রিল ২৬, ২০২৩
  • শেয়ার করুন

On April 24, 2013, an eight-story commercial building collapsed in Savar, a suburb of Dhaka, Bangladesh, causing a disaster known as the Rana Plaza incident. Several garment factories, stores, and a bank were located in the building, which claimed over 1,100 lives and left another 2,500 with serious injuries. The incident exposed dangerous working conditions and a lack of safety measures in Bangladesh’s RMG.

Eighty percent of Bangladesh’s exports come from the ready-made garment industry, making it one of the world’s largest. About 4 million people, mostly women, are employed in the industry, working in factories for low pay and long hours.

The Rana Plaza tragedy served as a wake-up call for the RMG industry in Bangladesh, prompting reforms to protect employees better. After the tragedy, the government of Bangladesh and various international organisations began working on reforms to increase factory safety. In 2013, the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety was signed, uniting multinational corporations, labour unions, and nongovernmental organisations to improve working conditions in the country. The agreement binds signatories to inspect Bangladeshi supplier factories and pay for any necessary safety upgrades. Workers and their representatives can also receive training on health and safety issues through the Accord.

North American manufacturers and retailers formed the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety to ensure the safety of workers in Bangladesh. The Alliance’s goal was to improve working conditions in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment (RMG) factories through inspections and disciplinary measures. The Alliance’s programs for worker and management safety education were very well received. In 2018, after the Alliance had finished cleaning up the factory, it ceased operations.

The RMG industry in Bangladesh has come a long way since then. Deaths and injuries have dropped dramatically in the business sector. Many unsafe garment factories have been shut down due to the Accord’s repeated inspections. Bangladesh’s government has also enacted a number of laws to protect and better protect workers in the industry.

After the tragedy at Rana Plaza, two groups were established to improve safety in the Bangladesh RMG industry: the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

Both programs have helped make the RMG industry in Bangladesh much safer for its employees. Over 120,000 potential dangers have been found after the Accord conducted over 3,000 inspections at manufacturing facilities. The Alliance has conducted inspections at over 1,600 different factories and implemented over 200,000 different safety measures. However, both efforts have been criticised by those who believe they must further fix the industry’s underlying problems, such as low wages and a lack of union rights.

The Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC), now known as the RMG Sustainability Council, succeeded the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh after its initial five-year term ended in 2018. (RSC). The RSC is a local group that keeps tabs on factories to ensure they’re safe and up to code after a round of remediation.

Representatives from the government of Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), and labour unions make up the RSC, making it a tripartite organisation. It is self-sufficient, receiving funding from the Accord’s signatory brands but otherwise having no affiliation with them. The RSC is responsible for conducting regular safety checks at the manufacturing facilities and fixing any problems it finds. It also keeps an online database of factory safety records available to the general public.

The Rana Plaza tragedy demonstrated the urgent need for improved health and safety procedures in Bangladesh’s RMG industry. Since then, there has been a significant advancement, and the industry as a whole is now, within this 10-year journey, actively dedicated to safeguarding the health and safety of its workers. There is still much to be done, and if the industry is to succeed in the long run, it must work to overcome its challenges.

S M Shoeb
Compliance, CSR, Auditing,
Training & Development,
Program & Project Management Profesional