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Accord gets a pat

Accord’s tenure in Bangladesh comes to an end this month.

Extraordinary progress has been made in the five years since the 2013 Accord was signed in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza collapse, and millions of workers now work in safer factories.

The overall progress rate of remediation at the 1,620 Accord-covered factories is 85 per cent.

Accord has engaged with 2.4 million worker participants to share vital safety information in more than 1,000 factories.

Bangladesh’s garment factories have also benefited materially, as buyers recognize that a factory that has completed its safety work presents far fewer risks for them.

Crucial to the success of the Accord has been its unique features: the labor-corporate partnership that is at the heart of the agreement, Accord’s recognition of the need to ensure that factory owners are able to afford the cost of safety improvements, and the binding nature of the agreement.

However while many lives have undoubtedly been saved, there is still more work to be done. Life-threatening safety hazards such as inadequate fire exits, fire alarms and fire protection systems are still present in hundreds of factories.

Fire and building safety involves not just the renovations to make factories safe, but also rigorous and on-going factory inspections. As of today, there is not yet a fully resourced national regulatory body in place to take over this work. Therefore, Accord signatories took the decision to sign the 2018 Transition Accord to ensure this vital safety work continues.