India

Reinforcing garment workers’ safety in Bangladesh

A garment factory in Gazipur city, Bangladesh needed to reinforce its building quickly. The owner’s construction consultancy identified BASF’s carbon fiber strengthening system as the solution to ensure the workers’ safety and meet building regulations required for the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. The Accord, put in place following the fatal 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse, is designed to vastly upgrade worker safety In the Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry. BASF had just 40 days to deliver and install the solution, or the factory would be forced to close -- with the potential to affect the livelihoods 5,500 people.

The unique carbon fiber reinforced polymer system from BASF is designed for quick application and minimal onsite setup. Yet two things compounded the challenging timescale. First was availability, as the system is not produced in Bangladesh nor held as a standard stock item. Second, there was limited expertise amongst local applicators as carbon fiber reinforcement polymer is seldom used in local building construction or repair. Thankfully, BASF’s global network stepped in on both counts, fast.

In just 26 days, BASF colleagues across India, Bangladesh and South Korea worked together to manufacture and deliver the strengthening system to the factory site in Gazipur.

Then BASF specialists trained a team of local applicators on the carbon fiber system application techniques, and assisted with the installation on site. Working as one team and around the clock, they successfully completed the installation in just 18 days.

Not only was the project completed ahead of schedule but remarkably, the installation work was undertaken without any disruptions to the factory’s routine operations.

The results are a safer workplace with no disruption to people’s livelihoods; a customer certain to meet the local building regulations, and a set of professional builders trained to install BASF’s innovative building strengthening system.

“The speed that this project needed to come together was a significant challenge from day one,” said S M Khalid, BASF Business Head for Construction Chemicals in Bangladesh. “That we delivered ahead of schedule is testament to colleagues across the region who worked tirelessly to bring broad BASF expertise to this project. Whilst our job was to reinforce a building, what pleased the team most was that we were able to help provide a safer working environment and secure the livelihoods of so many people.”