Local factory safety watchdog Nirapon announces its launch

BDApparelNews Desk
30 April 2019  

Prof Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, chairman of the Nirapon board, announcing the launch of the local factory safety watchdog in Dhaka on April 29, 2019. Photo Courtesy: Nirapon

Prof Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, chairman of the Nirapon board, announcing the launch of the local factory safety watchdog in Dhaka on April 29, 2019. Photo Courtesy: Nirapon

Nirapon, a platform of 21 foreign RMG brands, has officially launched its activities in Dhaka.

The launching program took place on Monday, where it was pledged to help building capacity towards a locally sustainable culture of safety in RMG factories, and work to keep up the safety achievements, the country’s garments sector has so far made.

Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury, a prominent architect of Bangladesh, and chairman of Nirapon board, announced the formal launching of the platform at a programme in a hotel in Dhaka on April 29, 2019.

“I am proud to announce the inauguration of a brand-initiated, locally-oriented organization, ‘Nirapon,’ whose mission is to strengthen the safety achievements that Bangladeshi RMG industry had reached so far,” he said.

“Nirapon will work to help protect and grow the safety achievements of the last five years. The unprecedented partnership will help build capacity towards a locally sustainable culture of factory safety,” Jamilur added.

Nirapon was established as a common platform, by global RMG brands, for whom Bangladesh is an important sourcing destination, to sustain and build on the safety achievements of the past six years.

As of now, there are 21-member brands and more than 600 factories under Nirapon, which requires to meet the National Action Plan on a continued basis, harmonize standards for physical, structural, fire, and electrical safety.

Nirapon is not a regulating body. It will use a brand-led approach of safety monitoring, through oversight and reporting services, for its subscribed members based on the laws of Bangladesh, so as to help member factories to build their own self-sustaining culture of safety.

The member factories will perform routine maintenance and safety training, and continue to work with a proven effective helpline.

The factories will provide regular updates, including documentary evidence, to the brand and to Nirapon, about their performance in these areas, and work with vetted local training and engineering firms who will conduct regular safety, and training audits.

Nirapon will provide oversight and quality assurance on the work of the factories, and their engineering and training consultants. The brands will work with the factories to assist them in addressing any problems that may arise.

“Nirapon’s roles are of oversight and to independently verify safety and training compliance, and reporting these results to its members. It cannot and will not suspend factories, nor share factory information with any other than with its members,” said Nirapon Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Moushumi Khan.   

“Rather, factories will now work directly with third party service providers under guidance from their Nirapon member brands, and oversight from Nirapon,” said Moushumi.

“In this transition to help build a more locally sustainable safety culture, Nirapon will vet, test and train local engineering and training service providers, who will be selected and retained by factories themselves, to give independent assessments of a factory’s compliance to building safety and Nirapon processes,” she added.

After the collapse of Rana Plaza, which killed 1,135 people in 2013, Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a platform of North American apparel brands and retailers, started to work with Bangladeshi apparel industry to improve safety standards within a five year time frame.

As of today, 93% of remediation is complete across Alliance-affiliated factories, while 428 factories have achieved completion of their initial Corrective Action Plans (CAPs).