Factory Owner Unaware of Need for Fire Exits


Almost a week after fire on November 29, the owner made audacious statement that he was never informed the facility was required to have an emergency exit, a sign of how far removed the leaders of the nation's garment industry are from issues of worker safety.

"It was my fault. But nobody told me that there was no emergency exit, which could be made accessible from outside," factory owner Delwar Hossain was quoted on November 29 as telling The Daily Star newspaper. "Nobody even advised me to install one like that, apart from the existing ones." "I could have done it. But nobody ever suggested that I do it," said Hossain. He was former accounts manager at another garment factory, set up his own clothing business, Tuba Textiles Mills Ltd. in 2004. The Tazreen factory was one of a dozen owned by his company.

Activists in the South Asian country hope the tragedy will invigorate their lengthy — but fruitless — efforts to upgrade safety standards and force stronger government oversight of...

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