Machines making Gap products in a ready-made garment factory.

Ready-Made Garment Factory Safety Program

Defining structural safety standards for better working conditions.

Project Facts

Location Dhaka and Chittagong, Bangladesh
Owner Gap, Inc.
Size 106 factory assessments
Status Completed 2013


The 2013 catastrophic structural failure of the Rana Plaza factory in Dhaka killed 1,134 readymade garment industry workers and propelled the global ready-made garment (RMG) industry into action to ensure safer factories in Bangladesh factories moving forward. Walter P Moore led the charge in building standards that guaranteed structural safety for overseas workers in the retail industry. 

Hundreds of tables with sewing machines in a large room inside a ready-made garment factory.

Open shipping doors at a ready-made garment factory.

Bangladeshi women work on several piles of clothing inside of a ready-made garment factory.

Alliance team members work on safety standards and assessments for Bangladeshi ready-made garment factories.

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About the project

Four months after the Rana Plaza disaster, a group of mostly US-based retailers bonded together to form the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. Although many of the retailers were historically fierce competitors, they understood that none of them could effectively improve factory safety on their own. 

The Alliance eventually grew to include 26 retailers who were committed to stopping contracts with vendors who worked in unsafe factories. Though their commitment seemed straightforward, it presented myriad challenges.

The most fundamental technical challenge was the absence of a standard that defined a “safe” factory. Few factories explicitly complied with Bangladesh National Building Code requirements for fire or structural safety. Therefore, a standard that could be rapidly confirmed by field assessment needed to be developed. 

Walter P Moore served as the primary structural advisor to the Alliance, working with Alliance retailers to synthesize lessons learned from their own factory assessments. We wrote the first detailed technical structural standard for RMG factory safety and led its harmonization with a similar standard developed by the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. This standard was published by the Alliance and guides the overall Alliance structural safety program. 

Walter P Moore also conducted technical training presentations for Alliance-certified Bangladeshi inspectors to help them effectively conduct complex structural safety inspections. Our team then helped safeguard the integrity of the overall inspection program by performing quality control reviews of more than 500 structural safety reports prepared by Bangladeshi assessors.