Many workers in key apparel producing countries work in unsafe environments which can have lethal consequences. This is why it’s the mission of the Life and Building Safety program (LABS) to provide safer working conditions for factory workers in the ready-made garment and footwear industry.
We organize our activities around identifying and solving risks related to fire and electrical hazards, structural building safety, and evacuation, so workers can lead better lives.
This is done by developing country-specific solutions. Here, we create a life-safety program that delivers a harmonized framework for monitoring, assessment, risk reduction, and remediation.
LABS is a brand driven program. And we do it with governments, local civil society organizations (CSOs) enforcement agencies, and technical experts. The committed brands play an indispensable role in improving working conditions by using their resources to drive factories to adopt better working conditions.
We are currently working in India and Vietnam, and in the future will expand to Pakistan and Cambodia. This expansion is a part of our goal to create solutions to workplace safety in the ready-made garment industry that have a global reach.
LABS is not focusing on Bangladesh. After 2013’s Rana Plaza collapse, a broad group of organizations and brands have already established mechanisms to address worker safety issues in Bangladesh. LABS will build on the learnings and experiences from these processes and seek to collaborate to initiate work on building and life safety in those in-need countries receiving less attention.
Any solution to worker safety needs to value transparency, a harmonized standard framework, and commitment at national and local levels. Since carrying out these values in an effective, scalable manner is difficult, we’ve created a three-phase plan to guide our efforts.