Apparel Sourcing Intelligence - Worldwide

Can Bangladesh really be that unsafe?

“Accidents in work places, mostly in garment factories, killed at least 953 people in Bangladesh in the six months to June”, Reuters reported the Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation as announcing in early August.

The claim appears extraordinary. While it is believable that there are accidents in Bangladesh’s garment manufacturing, the apparent allegation that around 500 people died from them in just six months seems to beggar belief: apart from the inherent improbability of the claim, any more than one or two deaths a year would be instantly publicised around the world.

But the Foundation – not, as in most Western countries, a government department, but a trade union pressure group – declined to give any evidence for the claim to The Source, and declined to publish a copy of the press release Reuters received. The death claims include deaths travelling to and from work, deaths during riots near factories and “other incidents like lightning and animal attacks in their workplaces.” Since stories like this often get a life of their own, readers might wish to remember the Foundation’s extraordinary silence about the evidence for it, and its implausible definition of “accidents in workplaces” if ever hearing it repeated by an activist