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BSCI welcomes accord on fire and building safety in Bangladesh19 May 2013
The tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza building has shown that it is apparent that fire and building safety remains a major challenge in Bangladesh.
BSCI believes that it is key that local stakeholders, notably government authorities, business, trade unions and NGOs need to cooperate closely on improving working conditions in the country. Therefore, the National Action Plan on Fire Safety plays an important role for improving the situation. BSCI welcomes that the accord on fire and building safety builds on the National Action Plan on Fire Safety which has been agreed by Bangladesh stakeholders in March this year.In this context, the recent high level mission of the ILO to Bangladesh plays equally an important role. BSCI supports the ILO’s request to the Bangladeshi government to increase their inspection capacities and review the labour law, which has been the outcome of that mission. It is essential that ILO addresses the political key players and follows-up on the implementation of the agreed measures.An accord on taking measures for improving fire and building safety in Bangladesh has been proposed by the trade union federation IndustriALL on 13 May. So far, it has been signed by nearly 40 companies, among them several BSCI participants. BSCI welcomes this sector-wide collaborative approach, hoping that this accord will contribute to creating safe working conditions in the garment industry in Bangladesh. However, several issues related to the implementation of the accord still need further concretion. For this reason, BSCI is at the moment unable to make a recommendation to its participants whether to sign the accord. It therefore remains at the discretion of individual BSCI participants to sign the accord, as this is not a decision of the entire initiative BSCI.BSCI stands ready to contribute to the development of the implementation plan of the accord in the coming weeks. BSCI is currently considering setting up a working group with those BSCI participants having signed the accord in order to support this process.The accord covers all suppliers producing for companies having signed and focuses on establishing credible safety inspections under the lead of an independent safety inspector. Remediation is another central piece of the accord in order to ensure that corrective measures at the factory level are taken. A training coordinator will establish an extensive fire and building safety training programme. The accord foresees that information on the five-year programme, notably an aggregated supplier list, inspection reports and aggregated industry compliance data, review of findings, remedial recommendations and information about progress is publicly shared. Signatory companies are expected to require their suppliers to join this programme and provide commercial incentives for long-lasting relationships. The financial support from signatory companies will be linked to sourcing volume from Bangladesh with a maximum contribution of USD 500.000 per year.It is the firm belief of BSCI that all these measures will help to make a real change in Bangladesh and that tragedies as seen in the past months should never happen again.
New acceptance procedure for BSCI auditing companies02 May 2013
As of 1 May, all auditing companies that wish to start conducting BSCI audits are asked to go through a new acceptance procedure.
In order to improve the quality of BSCI audits, BSCI has decided to review and upgrade the criteria on which auditing companies can conduct BSCI audits. BSCI continues to request auditing companies to be Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS) accredited for the SA8000 standard. However, BSCI adds new requirements, notably the restriction of the use of subcontractors. All new requirements are included in the new framework contract for the auditing companies.
Please see the 'The BSCI Auditing Companies Approval Procedure' and the application form. For interested companies, fill out the application form and send it with the relevant documentation to email@example.com, BSCI Auditing Manager.
Statement on the Rana Plaza Building Collapse in Bangladesh30 April 2013
Following the collapse of the Rana Plaza on Wednesday 24 April, the BSCI expresses its sincere condolences to all those affected by this tragic incident. BSCI immediately contacted its participating companies to investigate their relations with the two factories registered in the BSCI database; New Wave Style and Phantom Apparels. BSCI confirms that one BSCI Participant has had commercial relations with one of the registered factories.
BSCI social audits were performed in the two factories; however audits do not include building construction or integrity. BSCI therefore relies on the local authorities to implement and control national building regulations.
This tragedy highlights the broad infrastructure risks that exist with regard to industrial buildings across Bangladesh.
BSCI remains committed to working in partnership with all business, government, trade unions and NGOs in order to support Bangladesh garment industry and find a solution which prevents such tragedies from happening again. BSCI urges the local authorities to start implementing the National Tripartite Plan of Action which was adopted in Bangladesh on 24 March 2013. Additionally BSCI has joined discussions, together with other stakeholders, such as development agencies, trade unions, retailers etc, to explore how to improve monitoring of construction integrity. BSCI calls all those who want to share our efforts to contact us so we can support and push forward the necessary changes.
BSCI saddened by the collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar, Bangladesh24 April 2013
BSCI has been informed about the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza, along with five-named factories located in the same building on Wednesday 24 April, killing and injuring many people. The factories are New Waves Bottoms Limited, New Waves Style, Phantom Apparel Ltd, Phantom Tack Ltd and Ethar Textile Ltd. According to the BSCI platform, two of these factories, New Waves Style and Phantom Apparels, have been audited against the BSCI Code of Conduct. We are currently investigating among our participating companies if any of them has current commercial relations.
The reasons for the collapse of the factories seem to be related to the poor infrastructure of the Rana Plaza building. BSCI focuses on monitoring and improving labour issues within factories and relies on local authorities to ensure the construction and infrastructure is secure.
This tragic incident comes after several recent fire-related tragedies in Bangladesh. It underlines the difficulty that Bangladesh faces to ensure the necessary conditions to secure industrial buildings. This comes alongside the growing demand from international buyers to source from Bangladesh, adding to the urgency to take action. Comprehensive local laws on the security of buildings exist but are not properly implemented. We will continue to urge the Bangladesh government and other stakeholders to implement the National Occupational Health Safety and Safety Policy which was adopted on 24 March 2013. This National Action Plan foresees a series of measures to upgrade the industrial infrastructures of the country. BSCI stays engaged with all stakeholders in Bangladesh to further monitor and support the implementation of this National Policy.
At a time where the severity of the situation is still under investigation, our thoughts go out to the victims and their families.