Important lessons to learn from Tazreen fire: Mozena
Dan Mozena, the US ambassador to Bangladesh, yesterday said there is plenty to learn from Tazreen Fashions' tragic episode to enhance the country's apparel sector.
"I think there are important lessons to be learnt from the incident, and I am hopeful these lessons will be learnt to ensure continuous growth of this industry," Mozena told reporters after a closed-door meeting with the leaders of Bangladesh Employers' Federation (BEF).
The meeting, arranged by BEF at its office, lasted around two hours and held a minute's silence at the beginning in honour of the departed.
In the wake of the nation's deadliest industrial fire that killed more than 100 workers at Tazreen Fashions, Bangladesh has once again grabbed the spotlight for safety lapses at industrial units.
Asked if the fire incident would have a negative impact on the apparel industry, Mozena said it was too early to say as there were many things to consider before making a conclusion.
"At this stage, all of us reiterate our deepest condolences to what happened on Saturday. I am personally shaken by the incident because I cannot imagine the horror that the trapped people suffered," said Mozena.
About the meeting, the envoy said, "Our focus was to brainstorm and share ideas on how to ensure this will never happen again."
He said the ideas would further be discussed before implementation.
â€œSome ideas are relatively simple like training, drilling, installing fire escape, dedicated water supply and engaging employers find ways to improve safety at workplaces,â€ added the US envoy.
A fire devastated a New York garment factory 100 years ago, but it prompted the US to develop an efficient fire safety system, he said.
Fazlul Hoque, the BEF president, stressed the need for a stakeholder meeting immediately to reassure the international buyers.
â€œInternational apparel buyers are duly concerned with workplace safety due to the loss of so many workers' lives,â€ Hoque said.
â€œWe have to organise a discussion with the representatives from buyers, garment manufacturers, apparel workers, ILO [International Labour Organisation] and government soon for reviving buyers' confidence by ensuring workplace safety.â€
Apparel makers will have to be more conscious of workplace safety, while adding that many garment manufacturers are not doing enough to prevent fire at the factories, he said.
â€œI personally feel that the steps we have undertaken to prevent fire at the factory -- are not enough,â€ said Hoque, also a former president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association. â€œWe need to do lot more.â€