As lockdowns in countries start to abate, and apparel factories can resume some of their activities, some new factories have joined the Life and Building Safety (LABS) initiative, which now has over 100 apparel factories registered.
This marks a key milestone for the program as it works towards scaling and onboarding more factories to support them in mitigating risks related to fire, electrical and structural safety, and thereby providing safer working conditions for factory workers.
Out of the now 103 factories onboarded in Vietnam and India, assessments have been so far conducted in 74, and safety trainings have been conducted in 22. For the remaining factories, these activities will be planned in due course.
The current COVID-19 situation has impacted the program in the short to medium term, in terms of scaling up. Most activities at the factory-level are currently paused till further directives from the government in India and Vietnam on traveling and conducting in-person meetings.
The factories that are assessed have started working on remediations. Once the assessment has taken place and issues have been identified, a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) is drawn up. Within this CAP, the issues and required remediation activities are listed along with the corresponding timelines for factories to address these issues. The LABS team is following up with the factories to guide the factories on the remediation work.
With the current number of factories reached, LABS is helping protect 159,841 workers in the sector. These workers will have access to the LABS Helpline, which provides them with an opportunity to directly report issues related to fire, electrical and structural safety issues in their workplace.
IDH launched the LABS Initiative in India and Vietnam last year, to mitigate preventable structural, fire and electrical safety risks in apparel and footwear industries. Major brands including Bestseller, Gap Inc., Li & Fung, Target, VF Corporation, and Walmart have joined the program that will operate in all major industrial hubs, covering small, medium, and large enterprises in these countries.