Fire Safety

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…)

What We Learn Through Spot-Checks – the Good and the Bad

By Nurul Azam and Quamrunnessa Babli

With our use of a Train-the-Trainer model to implement the Alliance Basic Fire Safety Training, unannounced spot-checks are very important for ensuring that factories are following through with their commitment to train all workers. Through our training program, each Alliance factory nominates representatives (consisting of both workers and managers) to be trained as Alliance Fire Safety Facilitators, who are then tasked with training the rest of their workforce. The quality of the training therefore relies heavily on the skills of these fire safety facilitators and the support they receive from management to conduct the training according to guidelines. (more…)

Amader Kotha: The Factory Perspective

By Quamrunnessa Babli and S.M. Nurul Azam

In December, we invited Alliance factory representatives to share their experiences with the Alliance Worker Helpline, Amader Kotha. The helpline provides workers a number to call if they want to report safety concerns, with the calls answered by live operators. Since July 2014, the helpline has been introduced to nearly 300 factories through trainings where (1) workers learn when to use the helpline and receive materials with the helpline number, and (2) factorie2014-12-10 16.30.16s provide internal contacts that helpline representatives call if issues are reported from their factory.  When we first launched, some factories were not eager to participate – though many supported the use of the helpline for safety issues, they were also concerned that workers might abuse it to report other concerns (or even false allegations). Five months and 6,000+ calls later, we invited factories back into the Alliance office to give us their feedback on the helpline, both the good and the bad. Here are some key findings that came out of that conversation. (more…)

Ms. Akhi Akter: A Fire Safety Ambassador in her Factory

At the Social & Environmental Excellence Awards on December 9th, I was extremely proud of one award the Alliance presented – the award for Best Trainer to Ms. Akhi Akter. A newly promoted Assistant Cutting Supervisor (previously working as Sr. Cutting Operator) at the Hop Yick (Bangladesh) Limited factory, Akhi received this award for her outstanding performance as a Fire Safety Worker Representative in her factory.

Akhi is one of several representatives from her factory who participated in the 2-day Alliance’s Basic Fire Safety Train-the-Trainer program, where 3rd Master Trainers taught her, her colleagues, and representatives from other factories to deliver the 3-hour in-factory Basic Fire Safety Training. (more…)

2nd International Building & Fire Safety Expo

After the success of thephoto first Expo in February, the Alliance was excited to bring garment industry leaders together again with international safety equipment vendors for the 2nd International Building & Fire Safety Expo from December 7-9. As testament to the growing interest in building and fire safety in Bangladesh, participation in this Expo was more than double that of the first, with nearly 10,000 participants over the three days (and approximately 4,000 unique registrations). This gathering at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center in Dhaka amounts to the largest gathering of fire and safety equipment vendors, factory representatives and other stakeholders in Bangladesh’s history – and comes at a critical time, when garment factories are searching for certified products and have questions on everything from procurement to installation to maintenance. (more…)