Ready-Made Garment Factory Safety Program


Gap, Inc.


Completion Date: 2013

Project Size:
106 Factory Assessments
500+ Factory Report Reviews

Services Provided:
Emergency Response
Structural Assessment
Structural Advisor
Safety Standard Development

Ready-Made Garment Factory Safety Program

Dhaka and Chittagong

The 2013 catastrophic structural failure of the Rana Plaza factory in Dhaka that killed 1,134 readymade garment industry workers propelled the global ready-made garment (RMG) industry into action to make Bangladesh factories safer. Four months after the Rana Plaza disaster, a group of mostly U.S.-based retailers bonded together to form the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. Traditionally fierce competitors, these retailers understood that none of them could effectively improve factory safety individually. The Alliance eventually grew to include 26 retailers, and members committed they would not contract with vendors who worked in unsafe factories. Though their commitment seemed straightforward, it presented a myriad of 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. 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 conducted technical training presentations for Alliance-certified Bangladeshi inspectors to help them effectively conduct complex structural safety inspections. Walter P Moore 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.