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Bangladesh Accord factory inspection raises 'structural concerns'

The first round of factory inspections to take place as part of the Bangladesh Accord has found structural issues with all 10 premises being looked at - but none of the problems are so severe they need to be closed.

The first report, which outlines the current building conditions of the factories and the steps required to improve the level of safety, calls for further structural analysis, the introduction of automatic sprinkler systems and fire alarm upgrades. Fire doors are required on all exits and lockable gates on exits need to be removed. Electrical issues of varying degrees were also reported at all of the factories visited.  

Chief safety inspector Brad Loewen said: “The factories were as we expected with a large percentage having serious structural concerns however none of those inspected needed to be closed.

Alan Roberts, the Bangladesh Accord Foundation’s executive director of international operations, said the report was an “important milestone” for the organisation.

He added: “There is a big task ahead of the inspection teams and the Accord will be working hard with signatory brands, union signatories, workers at the factories and the factory owners themselves to see that the actions the inspections identify are undertaken.”

Between February and September 2014, 38 teams of international fire, electrical, and structural engineers, working with Bangladeshi engineers and technicians, will conduct inspections of 1,500 factories in total.

In the wake of fire disasters and the Rana Plaza building collapse in April the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was signed by over 150 brands and retailers including Arcadia, H&M and Primark.

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