Fire Safety Initiative

Issues Health Safety & Environment

Preventing Fires and Saving Lives by Empowering Workers and Factory Managers

Imagine you’re hard at work on the top floor of an old factory building, and suddenly the room is clouded with smoke. Your coworkers begin shouting and running to the only exit door. It is hard to breathe, and difficult to see. The door is locked—but even if it wasn’t, the fire is burning from below and the only way to escape is through a window. Remember: you’re on the top floor of the building.

Thousands of workers have faced a scenario like this and have not survived. Every year, people die in apparel factory fires. Most of these deaths could have been prevented if only factory managers and workers had been provided with the right knowledge and training.

FLA worked with master trainers in Bangladesh, China, and India to empower workers to advocate for improved awareness of the importance of fire prevention and protection and change behaviors across all levels of a factory.

The FLA program combines bottom-up and top-down solutions, training workers on the factory floor (including on-site fire safety facilitators), factory management, and higher-level fire safety trainers. The FLA fire safety initiative included:

  • A package of foundational fire safety competencies and a self-assessment for employers to implement at the factory level.
  • Education around the assessment of fire hazards and the ability of factory workers and managers to respond to emergencies using a self-assessment tool based on the foundational competencies.
  • Facilitated dialogue and sustainable solutions developed by engaging local experts .
  • Tools to empower workers to become fire safety ambassadors and complement the work of safety and health professionals and committees by creating a culture where workers are collectively concerned with each other’s welfare and express discomfort with unsafe working conditions.
  • Training for workers, factory managers, fire safety facilitators, and fire safety trainers on foundational fire safety competencies and all elements of a facility’s fire safety program.