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DHAKA – The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has expressed disappointment at the Bangladesh Accord’s decision to launch fresh boiler safety inspections in its listed 1,600 local factories from next month. In an announcement, the Accord said: “”The Accord will commence conducting initial boiler safety inspections at Accord-covered factories in September 2019.” However, BGMEA president Dr Rubana Huq said the issue of boiler safety, “should now be left on the RMG industry’s shoulder. Besides, RMG Sustainability Council is about to be launched … and Accord doesn’t have time to take on another issue. Demands of monitored compliance must cease and self-monitoring must begin.”

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In 2017, labour rights groups began calling for Bangladesh Accord inspections to be extended to cover boilers after an industrial accident at apparel business Multifabs Limited led to the death of 13 workers.

The Bangladesh Accord acted on the issue of boiler safety based on the findings of a pilot boiler safety conducted in September to December period last year.

As part of the pilot, 35 boilers were inspected at 17 Accord-covered factories, which provided information on a representative sample of boilers used in RMG factories in Bangladesh. Significant boiler safety hazards including non-compliant or missing boiler components/parts and a lack of certification were revealed by the pilot.

19 out of 35 inspected boilers could not undergo all stages of inspection because the boiler equipment at the factories were inadequate or defective, the pilot found.

As part of the new round of inspections, safety findings will be included in the factories’ corrective action plans (CAPs), the completion of which is being monitored by the Accord and the responsible company signatories.

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