All garment factories in Bangladesh need to meet accepted standards regarding their structural, fire and electrical safety. In order to do so they need to pass through a process to ensure that they are safe and importantly, once that level of safety has been reached, to maintain it. This process comprises four key stages:
Preliminary Assessment Stage
Preliminary Assessments are conducted by qualified engineering teams to look at the structural, fire and electrical safety of a factory. Preliminary visual assessments for structures include basic capacity evaluation of critical member/columns or foundations. The assessment process for fire and electrical safety sees various data collected during one and/or multiple field visits to the building followed by data analysis.
The results of the analysis will provide information about the current status of the structural, fire and electrical safety of the building/factory. It will also identify if there is any need for further detailed assessment as well as remediation steps required by the owner of the building and/or the garment factory to attain the required safety standard.
Detailed Assessment Stage
Detailed Engineering Assessments (DEA) are necessary to determine the safety of a structure when preliminary assessment reports reveal issues that require further analysis or when there is insufficient information available. A DEA can be recommended to investigate structural, fire or electrical safety issues and involves comprehensive field data collection, measurement/testing and subsequent detailed calculation and analysis as well as recommendations.
The Remediation Stage refers to the implementation of the Corrective Action Plan (CAP) which is developed by factories following preliminary assessment. A CAP (either with or without a DEA) requires approval by the RCC Task Force before its implementation. If structural retrofitting is needed, the factory should carry out this work first followed by fire and electrical-related remediation.
Factories receive remediation completion approval upon implementation of the CAP. However, efforts towards workplace safety do not stop here; the remediated factories will fall under the regular inspection system of DIFE and will have to maintain safety compliance. In the long run, the RCC will evolve into an Industrial Safety Unit that will be tasked to monitor workplace safety of all industrial sectors in Bangladesh.