What Does Rana Plaza Collapse Mean?
The Rana Plaza Collapse, also known as the 2013 Savar Building Collapse, was a structural failure that occurred April 24, 2013, in Bangladesh. The collapse of the eight-story building killed 1,134 people and injured approximately 2,500. The individuals killed and injured during the incident were primarily garment workers and associated persons. Cracks had been discovered in the building the day before the collapse, leading to the evacuation of individuals from the shops and banks; however, the owner of the building claimed that the building was safe, and garment workers were ordered to return to work the day it ended up collapsing.
The Rana Plaza Collapse is the deadliest structural collapse in modern human history and therefore also the deadliest garment-factory accident in history.
Safeopedia Explains Rana Plaza Collapse
The Rana Plaza collapse was caused due to significant problems with the design of the building, many of which were related to construction malfeasance. Although the building was a mixed-use property that contained residential apartments, retail facilities, and factories, it had not been designed to hold factories. This meant that it was ill-equipped to bear the increased weight and vibration associated with the installed heavy machinery. Furthermore, the building had only been given a permit for four floors—the top four floors had been added without a permit—and the building’s foundation was substandard.
Many Western clothing companies, such as Walmart, Primark, and Joe Fresh, made use of Rana Plaza’s garment factories. Its collapse led many observers from both within and outside of Bangladesh to argue that these and other firms had a social responsibility to ensure that the workplaces they procured goods from were safe for workers. As a result of this outcry, about 250 Western companies signed on to one of two related safety initiatives: the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
The Accord and Alliance are credited with a significant increase in safety within the 2,300 Bangladesh factories they applied to. However, both agreements expired in the spring of 2018. Many of the participants in the Accord and Alliance are interested in continuing their participation in the safety processes laid out under the agreements; however, the Bangladesh government believes that it should have sole oversight of factory safety. According to a June 2018 report by the International Labour Organization, less than 15% of the safety issues at factories overseen by the Bangladesh government had fixed their outstanding safety issues—significantly lower than those operating under either the Accord or the Alliance.