Accord on fire and building safety has decided to recruit companionship of an inspector to conduct fresh boiler safety inspection in its listed 1600 readymade local garment factories from next month.
Earlier, the European fashion brands and retailers’ platform conducted structural, fire and electrical safety assessment in the factories and then it announced that boiler safety would be conducted in all Accord covered factories and findings would be included in the factories’ corrective action plan. As multiple disastrous boiler explosions took place in the RMG factories in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Rubana Huq told that the boiler inspection might lead confusion as the inspection was not integrated into the National Tripartite Plan of Action.
Significant boiler safety hazards including non-compliant or missing boiler components/parts and a lack of certification were revealed by the pilot inspection. Some 19 out of 35 inspected boilers could not undergo all stages of inspection because the boiler equipment at the factories were inadequate or defective, it found.
Following the pilot boiler safety inspection findings, the Accord Steering Committee decided that the Accord-covered factories shall be inspected for boiler safety.
Rubana Huq said that it would not be possible for Accord to conduct the inspection in the next 10 months’ time frame.
The boiler capacity findings identified from the factories inspected include the following:
- Calcium build-up, which reduces the capacity of boiler. The calcium build-up can corrode the boiler wall, reduce efficiency and lead to leakage and spray of boiling water.
- Boiler components/parts missing (e.g. – no or inadequate pressure valves, no or adequate pressure monitoring systems)
- Faulty electrical writing.
- Incomplete or non-existent technical datasheets.
Countries apparel makers, however, opposed the Accord’s plan to integrate boiler safety inspection in its program saying that it was not the right time as most of the factories have nearly completed their remediation.
The Accord will commence conducting initial boiler safety inspections at Accord-covered factories in September 2019, according to the latest progress report of the Accord.
The platform took the move based on the findings revealed through one of its pilot boiler safety programs conducted in September to December period of last year. The pilot program was agreed after multiple catastrophic boiler explosions in the country’s RMG factories during the last several years. As part of the pilot program, 35 boilers were inspected at 17 Accord-covered factories, which provided information on a representative sample of boilers used in RMG factories in Bangladesh.
A complete boiler safety inspection includes an internal inspection of the boiler, a hydrostatic pressure test, external inspection and assessment of the functionality of the boiler. During the pilot program, 19 of the 35 inspected boilers could not undergo all stages of inspection because the boiler equipment at the factories was inadequate or defective.
These 19 boilers, representing 54% of those inspected, require remediation work and re-inspection and testing, defects were detected in all 35 inspected boilers and all required remedial work.
‘In response to the findings revealed through the Pilot Program, the Accord Steering Committee decided that all Accord-covered factories should be inspected for boiler safety,’ the platform recently announced it in a report.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse on April 24, 2o13, that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garments workers. European retailers formed the Accord undertaking a five-year plan, which set timeframes and accountability for inspections and training workers development programs.
At the same time, North American brands and retailers formed Alliance for Bangladesh worker safety and the platform inspected 700 factories.
The five-year timeframe of Accord expired on May 31, 2018 and the platform got six months extension as transition period.
A few months ago, the Supreme Court allowed Accord to run its operation in Bangladesh for 281 working days. On the other hand, Alliance left Bangladesh on December 31 of 2018 after the end of its tenure.