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Teams detect structural flaws in some units

Moinul Haque

The government-assigned inspection teams have found structural and electrical flaws in some readymade garment units during their fire and workplace safety assessment in 110 factories, people involved with the process told New Age.
The teams are yet to spot any major fault, they said.
The government in association with the International Labour Organisation inspected the RMG factories under the National Tripartite Committee’s action plan for fire safety and structural integrity in the RMG sector.
The government and the ILO targeted to inspect 200 factories in two months by January 15. They will inspect around 2,000 RMG units under the action plan.
‘A total of 110 factories have so far been inspected and it would not be possible to achieve the target of inspecting 200 factories by January 15 as political unrest has hampered the inspection activities,’ labour secretary Mikail Shipar told New Age on Monday.
During the inspection the teams have found flaws in structural designs and fire safety measures of some factories, but the flaws are not very major ones, he said.
The inspection teams have recently submitted their reports on the inspection done so far to experts at the ILO, Mikail said.
He also said that the NTC would hold a meeting soon and all parties — the government, ILO, owners and worker leaders — would review the inspection reports.
An expert at the inspection team, Mehedi Ahsan Ansary, also a professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, said that the inspection was going on.
He, however, did not disclose anything about the reports.
Mehedi said that though the NTC targeted to complete the inspection to 200 RMG factories by January 15, it would miss the target as inspection work was hindered by political unrest.
The government on November 15 started inspection to the factories which are not on the inspection lists published by EU Accord and North American Alliance.
The three-and-a-half year initiative ‘improving working conditions in the readymade garment sector’ was developed in collaboration with the government, employers’ and workers’ representatives in response to a number of disasters in the sector, including the Rana Plaza building collapse in April last year which killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers.
On October 22, the government and the ILO launched a $24.21 million initiative — including a new Better Work programme — with an aim to improving working conditions in the RMG industry in Bangladesh.
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh formed by European Union retailers and Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative formed by North American retailers will separately inspect the factories that manufacture products for their members.
Accord published a list of around 1,600 factories while Alliance a list of around 620 apparel units for inspection.

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