Remediation Verification Visits: Tracking Factory Progress After Inspections Are Done

With all Alliance factories inspected, a common question we get is: how do you know factories are making the required safety improvements?  The Alliance’s 32-member remediation team is entirely focused on the answer to this question — in partnership with my team, I spend five days a week in factories to verify they are making progress.

584 of our factories have received approved CAPs and are now in the remediation phase of the Alliance program. Alliance factories have an average of 87 open findings listed in their CAPs.

After the inspection, factories rely on their approved Corrective Action Plans (CAP) for guidance on how to manage remediation (you can read more about the CAP development and approval process in my colleague Wahid’s blog post). Factories work with their internal engineering teams and/or external consultants to close the findings in order to improve the safety of their factories. These changes can be physical or organizational in nature, including: (more…)

Finding Electrical Hotspots Before They Turn Into Fires: The Role of Thermographic Scanning

Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defense officials believe that a majority of fires in RMG factories occur due to electrical faults and malfunctions. For this reason, the Alliance places a high priority on remediating electrical hazards as a means of preventing disasters like those that have plagued the industry in the past.

Infrared imaging – also known as thermographic scanning – is the most effective tool available to our engineers for identifying urgent electrical risks. IMG_4608Unlike conventional cameras, infrared scanners capture radiation and produce images that show the relative temperature of electrical equipment. At a minimum, there are 40 types of electrical equipment that should be scanned (if found onsite), such as fuse boxes, water and vacuum pump electrical systems, and fan and coils panels. The greatest concerns arise when we see the largest temperature differential. Regular scans of all equipment should be done every few years, though the required frequency of this task may increase based on past incidence of hotspots. (more…)

From Inspections to Remediation: Creating Factory Corrective Action Plans

Having completed inspections for the Alliance’s 650+ factories, we are now focused on remediating all of the open findings to make the buildings safer for workers. Each inspection results in three factory reports – structural, fire, and electrical – that can be found on our website’s inspection report page. We also post draft Corrective Action Plans (CAPs), which consolidate the open findings listed in the reports and allow the Alliance, the individual member companies, and Qualified Assessment Firms (QAFs) to work with factory owners and management representatives on detailed plans of action for each finding. Each CAP includes information on the proposed action, the person(s) responsible for remediating the open finding, and an estimated date of completion.  (more…)

Worker Compensation: What happens to workers when factories close?

When our 28 members joined the Alliance, they signed a Member Agreement that outlines the commitments each company agrees to uphold throughout the tenure of Alliance membership. Responsibilities include the creation of a Worker Safety Fund, part of which is used to support workers that are temporarily displaced due to factory safety concerns or remediation activities. After a critical safety coIMG_20141211_100910ncern has been identified, the factory may have to suspend partial or full production based on the inspection findings and recommendations of the National Tripartite Committee Review Panel. In order to reduce the impact these closures place on workers, the Alliance shares in the compensation to workers so there is no loss of income while the factory is being remediated. This compensation also helps support workers during their employment search if the factory is permanently closed. Supporting worker compensation is an important initiative of the Alliance because it ensures workers will receive their wages or separation benefit while also reducing the burden placed on factory owners, who are already facing potentially high remediation costs. To date, the Alliance has disbursed hundreds of thousands of dollars (USD) to more than 4,300 workers at four factories.