POST-EARTHQUAKE SAFETY ASSESSMENT

Accord detects cracks in 3 factory buildings

Staff Correspondent

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a consortium of European retailers, has found simple cracks in three factory buildings during a post-earthquake safety assessment in 61 factories in the last nine days.
The platform will conduct inspections to identify the immediate impact of the April 25 earthquake at roughly 200 factories which were deemed structurally the most vulnerable from its initial inspections.
Bangladesh felt multiple foreshocks and aftershocks of the powerful earthquake of 7.9 magnitude that jolted Nepal and some parts of India and China.
‘As of this afternoon, we have inspected 61 factories. We have issues in three of those factories and are following up with the factories, the brands, our labour partners, and the Inspector General [of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments] to ensure that they are made safe,’ said an official of Accord on Monday.
He said that simple cracks were found in three factories and Accord had asked the owners of the units to hire engineers to ensure whether the cracks are risky.
‘Accord is implementing measures to determine if the buildings we have inspected and which are producing for Accord signatory companies have been structurally affected by the earthquake,’ Rob Wayss, executive director of Accord, told New Age.
He said that all 11 Accord structural engineers were in the field doing immediate impact inspections at the factories and they were utilising an internationally-recognised inspection for these immediate inspections.
Accord has formally communicated with the owners or management of the inspected factories requesting them to provide information on the impact of the earthquake on their buildings and on any precautionary measures or investigations they have done since.
‘We have expressly requested those factories which required a detailed engineering assessment from the Accord initial structural inspection to have the engineers their companies are working with on the DEA to conduct an immediate impact inspection to determine
if the earthquake has caused any structural damage to the building where the factory is housed,’ Rob said.
After the Rana Plaza factory collapse on April 24, 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, Western retailers and apparel brands, reacting to public outrage, began a major push to improve safety at the Bangladeshi factories they do business with.
The EU brands and retailers including H&M, Carrefour and Mango, as well as 14 American companies formed Accord and the platform started safety inspection in more than 1,500 garment factories that supply to the Accord’s members.
During the inspection the structural integrity in 17 buildings was found below an acceptable level of safety and the platform recommended a government-set review panel for temporary evacuation of the buildings.
As per the recommendation of the Accord, 24 factories in nine buildings were closed while four factories in five buildings were partially closed.
North American retailers formed another platform, Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety that inspected 600 RMG units.

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