The Alliance's Commitment
Every worker has a role to play in ensuring his or her safety and that of others in case of an emergency. The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety is committed to providing training for workers and management in 100% of Bangladeshi RMG factories producing for Alliance members. In the Alliance’s first year, more than 1.2 million workers completed the Basic Fire Safety Training program that was required for all Alliance factories. Our commitment to training has since continued with our ongoing Fire Safety Refresher Training as well as our Security Guard Fire Safety & Responsibility Training programs.
Basic Fire Safety Training
The Alliance Basic Fire Safety Training equips workers and management with fundamental knowledge and awareness of basic fire prevention, fire protection and emergency evacuation. This training does not focus on firefighting, but rather on the protection of life. In addition to best practices around fire safety, the interactive training reviews roles and responsibilities specific to workers and management, and educates workers on the communication channels and worker representation structures for reporting fire hazards and incidents, including Amader Kotha, the Alliance Helpline.
Training Implementation: The Basic Fire Safety Training program is implemented through a Train-the-Trainer (TtT) approach: Alliance trainers train factory representatives (both management and workers) who are responsible for creating training action plans, delivering the training to their entire workforce and integrating it into their training and orientation programs. The in-factory training is highly participatory, can be completed within 3 hours, and is delivered to no more than 30 workers at a time in order to maintain a high level of participation. Training materials—including flip charts, guidebooks, leaflets and toolkits—are designed to be easily understood by workers with low literacy levels.
Impact Evaluation: Following the Alliance’s 2013 worker baseline survey data, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) conducted an independent impact assessment of the Basic Fire Safety Training program from October through November of 2014. Their findings show significant improvement in workers’ knowledge of fire safety, increased understanding of fire risks and a heightened sense of responsibility among workers for their own health and safety at work.
All Alliance factories completed the Basic Fire Safety Training program in 2013-2014, and are now finishing the Fire Safety Refresher Training program to ensure that new employees are covered and to keep fire safety practices top of mind for those who have already received the training. The Refresher Training content matches closely to that of the initial Basic Fire Safety Training, with the addition of an earthquake preparedness and response module and minor improvements based on the findings of the impact evaluation.
Security Guard Fire Safety & Responsibility Training
Recognizing the important leadership role that security guards could play during emergencies, the Alliance launched its Security Guard Fire Safety & Responsibility Training program in April 2015. This specialized training teaches security guards to prevent fires by identifying hazards and ensuring that exit routes are unobstructed—and guards are taught to prioritize lives, not property, during a fire by helping to deter mass panic among workers and ensure safe and orderly evacuation of the factory.
Security guards from all Alliance factories have completed the Security Guard Fire Safety & Responsibility Training, and newly added factories’ security guards receive the training shortly after their factories are added to the Alliance-compliant list.
Training Implementation: The Security Guard Fire Safety & Responsibility Training is implemented through two different approaches depending on the factory size: A Train-the-Trainer (TtT) approach for factories with 10 or more security guards, and direct training by the Alliance for factories with fewer than 10 guards. For the larger factories, Alliance trainers train two or three security guards who are required to create and submit training action plans, and then conduct the training for all of the factory’s security guards.
Tracking & Enabling Progress
For both the Basic Fire Safety Training and Security Guard Fire Safety & Responsibility Training, the Alliance continues to follow up with factories to ensure they have the resources they need to progress with their training action plans. They do this through:
Progress Reports: Factories are required to submit weekly training reports to the Alliance, as well as provide attendance records and pictorial evidence of their training.
Spot Checks: Alliance staff conduct periodic spot-checks of in-factory trainings in order to ensure that they are conducted in a timely, effective manner. These visits are either unannounced, or announced within a non-specific time period. Spot checks intend to verify whether trainings are taking place as factories are reporting them, and to evaluate their effectiveness through observation, worker and management interviews, and document reviews. Spot checks are also used to identify and learn about specific challenges factories face and best practices to overcome them.
Support Program: Any factories that have trouble implementing the curriculum or otherwise fall behind in their training program receive additional on-site support from the Alliance or approved third-party trainers.
Brand Notifications: Alliance member brands are notified about training implementation on a regular basis to enable follow-up with and support of their factories. Brand representatives are also trained in a similar manner to factory facilitators on all Alliance training programs so they can help with implementation, follow-up, and spot checks.