New York, US (BBN)-The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a group largely made up of American retailers, has revealed factory inspection reports for the first time ever.
The organisation, created last July to help advocate for better working conditions in the Bangladesh apparel industry, has been working in the wake of the 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse tragedy, reports Fashion Times .
According to WWD, the alliance members include some of the most well known brands in the world, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Gap Inc, Costco Wholesale Corp, JC Penney Co Inc,VF Corp, Fruit of the Loom Inc and Sears Holdings Corp.
Ian Spaulding, the alliance's senior adviser, spoke of the organisation's efforts in the loom of its one year anniversary.
"The alliance is committed to publish all inspection reports publicly.
As such, we have released inspection reports from more than 25 factories on our Web site.
We will continue to release additional reports in the weeks and months to come."
The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety published a public list of factory reports on its website for 508 factories inspected so far, planning to inspect 626 factories in total by July 10.
"All factories that we have inspected have issues that need to be improved," Spaulding said. "Common issues include inadequate fire-suppression equipment, lack of fire doors and poor electrical wiring. From a structural perspective, while the majority of buildings are safe, there are a few instances when the building is overloaded and the factory needs to take immediate action to reduce the load and reinforce columns."
Despite the positive intent of the inspections by the alliance, factory owners are concerned by the new measures.
"We have already said this earlier – that selective sharing is a better measure," said Shahidullah Azim, vice president of the Bangladesh Garment and Manufacturers Exporters Association.
"It is better if the information is shared with the factory, the government, the brand and the BGMEA."
However, alliance managing director Mesbah Rabin insists the inspections of all factories is important to insure workers are safe.
"The transparency is necessary. It was needed because it was one of the declarations of the National Tripartite plan of action that all findings would be made public. It is the decision of the government, we are supporting that decision."
As for the reports' results, the inspections are already proving vital for upcoming improvements.
While most buildings seem to be in acceptable conditions, and not causing any imminent danger, some didn't fare too well.
Some of the most common issues reported by the alliance were damage in beams, issues with stacking of garments and wall-bearing systems.
However, with the factories that were found unsafe will have the alliance's recommendation for immediate closure.
This means they will then undergo a review by a panel of experts, and finally the decision of their fate will be taken by the government of Bangladesh.