Twenty-one brands and buyers from North America, who were the signatories of Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, recently launched a new platform, Nirapon, for safety monitoring in the Bangladesh readymade garment (RMG) units that supply them. Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, Vice Chancellor of the University of Asia-Pacific in Dhaka, is the Chairman of Nirapon board. Chowdhury clarified that Nirapon is in no way a regulating body, but will use a brand-led approach to safety monitoring, oversight and reporting services for its members based on Bangladesh laws to help the factories build their own self-sustaining culture of safety, according to a report.

Factories would provide regular updates, including documentary evidence, to the brands and to Nirapon of their performances in those areas and work with vetted, local training and engineering firms who would conduct regular safety and training audits. Nirapon Chief Executive Officer Moushumi Khan said more than 600 factories are part of the initiative. All Nirapon member factories are required to continue to meet the National Action Plan harmonised standards for structural, fire, and electrical safety and all the factories would have to implement standardised training programmes focused on worker safety, she said.

While Alliance had worked directly with factories to drive remediation and training programmes, Nirapon’s role would be of oversight and independent verification of safety and training compliance and reporting those results to its members, she added.