Focus on safetyEHS professionals who are interested in a professional challenge – and living abroad – may want to send a resume to the steering committee of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a multi-national effort to bring about safer and healthier conditions for factory workers in Bangladesh.

Global Unions IndustriALL, UNI, and numerous retailers (referred to as Brands in the job description) have signed onto the accord.

From the Safety Inspector job description:

The Safety Inspector, reporting to the Steering Committee, will recruit, train, develop, deploy and supervise an inspectorate capable of evaluating fire and electrical safety, structural safety, and worker safety in Bangladeshi garment factories that supply the Brands. The successful candidate will divide his/her time between Dhaka, Bangladesh and an office to be established in Europe.

The Safety Inspector will coordinate a preliminary classification of factories based on existing and provided information, brief initial inspections where necessary, and take into consideration other recent audits performed by some of the Brands.

S/he will recommend to the Accord Steering Committee fire safety and building safety standards that will be applied by the Accord. Developing these recommendations is anticipated to be an ongoing process that may take a considerable amount of time. These must satisfy, but may go well beyond, existing Bangladeshi regulations and standards.

S/he will recommend to the Steering Committee a methodology for safety inspections and interventions, taking into consideration the successes and failures of previous similar initiatives. This methodology must be able to be set out as guidelines for the inspectorate to be trained on and to follow. Methodologies may be necessary for both quick screening inspections and more in-depth analyses.

The Safety Inspector and the inspectorate must as a group be capable of evaluating:

  • structural hazards such as design and material deficiency, insufficient consideration of geological or environmental conditions, overloading, etc.
  • fire hazards, including general housekeeping, storage of flammables, dust control, sources of ignition (cutting, welding, open flame, electrical installations, heating systems, boilers etc.), as well as inadequate emergency procedures and escape routes.
  • workplace hazards resulting from unsafe materials (including dangerous chemicals), tools, electrical installations, equipment, poor ergonomic design, or a contaminated or overcrowded workplace environment.
  • hazards resulting from work organization, such as lack of training, lack of effective workplace health and safety committees, lack of attention to workers' rights (such as the right to refuse unsafe work) and other management policies and practices that would put buildings and the people in them at risk.

The Safety Inspector and the inspectorate as a group will prioritize factories based on the degree of remediation required. Based on the inspection findings, s/he will recommend remedial action for building and fire safety, including worker and management training, fire detection, protection, and firefighting measures, as well as evacuation measures and the need for practice drills. These recommendations will be provided to factory owners, Brands contracting products from the factories and the Steering Committee.

The preceding points are not an exhaustive list. The Safety Inspector will work with the Steering Committee to establish a more complete job description.

Qualifications and Skills Desired

The ideal candidate will have knowledge of most of the safety disciplines described below, but it is understood that the successful person may not have expert-level knowledge in all these areas and should be free to consult other experts where required.

  • Bachelor's degree or higher in a related discipline such as civil, structural, or fire engineering
  • Thorough knowledge of the building and/or fire safety codes of a high-standard jurisdiction.
  • Professional certification or licensing by a major national or international body
  • Minimum 10 years of relevant experience


  • The skills necessary to establish and lead a group and administer a budget approved by the Steering Committee are essential.
  • Evidence of social and cultural sensitivity; some knowledge of human and labour rights, are important assets.


This is a high-level position. Depending on qualifications and experience, the salary for this position will be in the range of $200,000 USD with a generous benefits package.


The deadline for applying is July 30, 2013. Send a cover letter and resume to:

Interim Secretariat
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh
c/o UNI Global Union
8-10 avenue Reverdil
CH-1260 Nyon