What The Rana Plaza Disaster Changed About Worker Safety

by MR Magazine Staff

It was business as usual in Rana Plaza in Bangladesh’s Dhaka District on April 24, 2013. Hundreds of garment workers reported to work like always. But the day before, they’d noticed an unsettling sight: cracks in the walls of the multi-story building. Still, the laborers were told to return to work the next morning. That decision proved catastrophic. The plaza — home to clothing factories, apartments, stores, and a bank — crumbled with the workers inside. It now has the horrific distinction of being the site of the deadliest garment factory disaster ever. More than 1,100 people died during the Rana Plaza collapse, and thousands more were injured. So, what does that catastrophe have to do with consumers in the U.S.? A number of Western companies, from Nike to Ivanka Trump to H&M, source labor from Bangladesh. Specifically, Zara, Walmart, Benetton, and Mango had all produced apparel in Rana Plaza factories. And more than 120,000 pounds of clothing from The Children’s Place had been produced at the plaza during the eight months before the building fell. After the disaster, murder charges were brought against 38 people connected, and more than 200 apparel companies from 20 countries signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh to prevent similar tragedies from happening. The signatories include American Eagle Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Zara, and H&M. Read more at Racked.