Improving Fire & General Building Safety for Bangladesh's Ready-Made Garment Workers - Solidarity Center

Project Duration
September 2013
September 2017
Funding and Year

The Problem

Bangladesh’s economic development depends heavily on exports from the ready-made garment (RMG) sector, with its extensive labor rights violations, including unsafe fire and building safety practices. These violations have caused numerous worker casualties, most notably from the Tazreen factory fire and the Rana plaza building collapse. Reports have shown that substandard buildings, poor emergency procedures, blocked fire exits, overcrowded workplaces, and inadequate inspection practices have resulted in a high death toll. A contributing problem has been the lack of effective RMG worker representation, voice, education and protection.

Our Strategy

Project Objectives: An overarching objective is to improve representation and protection of workers in the RMG sector related to fire and general building safety. Immediate objectives include improvements in:

  1. The capacity of workers and worker organizations to engage in effective dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh and employers on fire and general building safety strategic plans and related initiatives.
  2. Knowledge of workers on fire safety and general building hazards and practices, fire-safety inspections, and means to report and propose remediation to the appropriate government authorities and/or factory managers.
  3. Worker organization capacity to collectively and individually represent workers on fire and general building safety matters to ensure that their rights and interest are effectively protected. 

Strategy: Improving worker representation and education will increase compliance with fire and building safety standards and thereby reduce relate damage and casualties and improve assistance provided to workers injured or killed and their families. 


The union federations and factory-level unions, including the newly registered unions and the RMG factory workers. 

Solidarity Center
Implementing Partners:
Bangladesh trade unions and union federations
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4900 / Office of Trade and Labor Affairs (OTLA)
Occupational Safety & Health (OSH)
Worker Rights