January 26, 2016—The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety expresses its condolences to the families of the six individuals who have lost their lives, and the 10 who were injured, in a chemical factory fire in Gazipur on January 24. This tragedy is further evidence that all factories in Bangladesh—not just the garment factories covered by current safety initiatives, including the Alliance—must be inspected and remediated to ensure that every worker is protected.
The mission of the Alliance is to ensure that factories from which our Members source meet strict inspection standards and provide a safe working environment free of structural, electrical and fire-related hazards. All 700+ of these factories have been inspected, their 1.1 million workers provided with Alliance fire safety training, and all are now undergoing remediation to ensure they meet the highest standards of safety—progress that is saving lives. The Alliance and our 27 member companies have formally severed ties with 24 factories that have failed to comply with these standards.
We urge the government of Bangladesh to take further steps to implement the National Action Plan commitments to improve factory safety, and to ensure that such work extends beyond the garment industry to improve workplace safety in all enterprises of Bangladesh.