Dhaka, Bangladesh — An investigation has uncovered that gross negligence is to blame for Bangladesh’s worst factory fire in history, which killed 112 people.
A preliminary report from a government inquiry was submitted on Monday, saying that criminal charges should be brought against the factory’s owner for “unpardonable negligence,” reports The New York Times.
Main Uddin Khandakar, the official who led the inquiry into the factory fire, stated:
“The owner of the factory cannot be indemnified from the death of large numbers of workers from this fire. Unpardonable negligence of the owner is responsible for the death of workers.”
The Tazreen Fashions factory fire happened on November 24. Workers were making clothes for global retailers like Walmart and Sears when the fire broke out. The fire has brought the poor work conditions and low wages present at many garment factories in Bangladesh into the public light.
The Wall Street Journal notes that more than 500 people have passed away in Bangladesh factory fires since 2006, according to labor groups’ estimates. The November factory fire, however, was the tipping point. Since the fire, which was blamed on gross negligence on the part of the factory’s owner.
Bangladesh’s government has promised to take action against the poor working conditions, while garment workers have clashed with police weekly in Ashulia, near Dhaka, where the Tazreen factory was located. The workers are demanding compensation for the victims’ families, along with safer working conditions. Pressure is also mounting on big buyers like Walmart and Hennes & Mauritz to tighten their current systems for monitoring factory safety in the country.
Mikail Shiper, an official in Bngladesh’s labor ministry, stated, “The prime minister has ordered us to make sure this never happens again.” Authorities are also in the process of reviewing each of the nation’s 5,000 registered garment factories and will rescind the permits of those who fail safety evaluations.