The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) continues to build an international presence by sharing fire and life safety resources, expertise and research across the globe in an ongoing effort to help save lives and reduce loss.
This week, we released the Bangladesh Ready-Made Garment (RMG) Industry High-Level Assessment Report. This document, which looks at Bangladesh’s fire and building safety standards, protocols, inspection procedures and training programs for RMG factories, provides short- and long-term recommendations to improve fire and life safety at these facilities.
Over the past several years, several catastrophic fires and accidents in the Bangladesh garment district have killed hundreds of people and drawn attention to the poorly regulated industry. In 2013, 28 North American brands and retailers formed a five-year initiative, called the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (the Alliance), to improve safety and empower workers in the Bangladesh factories from which they source. The Alliance invited NFPA and the University of Maryland to visit a sampling of 14 factories in the Dhaka region and independently review the Alliance’s proposed program to increase worker safety.
NFPA made recommendations and suggested processes for the Alliance, government officials and other stakeholders to explore or undertake so that worker safety in Bangladesh is improved on an ongoing basis.
NFPA’s factory research work in Bangladesh is just one of many ways that we are sharing extensive life and fire safety insight with countries around the world. Last week, a delegate from China’s Tianjin Fire Research Institute visited NFPA to learn more about our codes and standards. Earlier this month, members of NFPA’s international team were invited by government officials to visit Ethiopia and explore opportunities for code enforcement in that third world country. NFPA also visited Chile in March to discuss wildfire mitigation and adopting the Firewise program there. And currently, a delegation of top NFPA leaders is in Abu Dhabi to help the United Arab Emirates address fire, electrical and related hazards in the Persian Gulf.
These global collaborations are just a few examples of how NFPA is transitioning from a codes and standards organization with a U.S. focus to an information and knowledge organization with an international influence.