11 Jul 2013

Stricter safety standards promoted at garment factories

11:38 am on 11 July 2013

A group of 17 US American retail chains has announced a programme to introduce stricter safety standards at garment factories in Bangladesh.

The BBC reports 1129 workers were killed in a building collapse near Dhaka in April and another 112 in a fire in November.

It includes loans to help factories improve safety and inspections of all factories within a year.

On Monday, a group of mainly European firms announced a similar move.

In a statement, the US companies said:

"The safety record of Bangladesh factories is unacceptable and requires our collective effort.

"We can prevent future tragedies by consolidating and amplifying our individual efforts to bring about real and sustained progress."

Earlier this year, the US Labor Department gave Bangladesh $US2.5 million to ensure workers were better protected.

The BBC reports there are more than 4500 clothing factories in Bangladesh, employing more than 3.5 million people. The garment industry makes up 80% of the country's exports.