Safety Layout Plan for a Readymade Garments Factory

Last Updated on 29/05/2021

Fire Safety Layout Plan for a Readymade Garments Factory

Maruf Mahfuz
Department of Textile engineering
World University of Bangladesh


It is the advantage to outsourcing of supply chains that opened up a new door of economic emancipation for Bangladesh. The readymade garments (RMG) of Bangladesh emerge as value chain member of European, USA cloth merchants and retails. Many of them are found economic justification in outsourcing production function to Bangladesh. RMG sector of Bangladesh responded to this outsourcing demand quite successfully. The overwhelming success of the RMG sector of Bangladesh has moved its status in the global context in terms of economic and social development indicators. Despite the challenge that lies ahead, Bangladesh performed well in terms of realizing benefit of economic globalization, particularly its RMG sector. This paper discusses in brief the problem of health and safety issues of female workforce of garment industries in Bangladesh based upon the industry environment, their residential environment, working condition, age, problem of health, causes of diseases, causes of fire accident and their medical facilities.

Accidents in the RMG Industry:
The ready-made garments industry has provided source of income for millions of people. It has been playing a vast role in elevating living standard of mass people, especially in the developing countries. On the other hand, the industry also holds the record of experiencing some worst industrial accidents as well. The accidents happened were of various types such as building collapse or fire breakout. The first disaster in the readymade garments industry took place at Pemberton Mill, Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1860 claiming 145 lives. In 1911, the Triangle shirtwaist Factory fire in New York claimed lives of 146 workers. The industry has been hit by various such disasters in Bangladesh as well. In recent time, the fires at Garib and Garib Sweater Factory and Ha-meem Group in 2010 are two of the worst accidents in the readymade garments and garments industry of Bangladesh. Some critics have put Bangladeshi readymade garments industry right up there with Chinese coal mining as one of the most dangerous industries in the world (New Internationalist Magazine, 2005).

Ha-meem Group's Factory in blaze
Figure: Ha-meem Group’s Factory in blaze, 14 December 2010

It is popularly believed and often proven true by incidences that the building codes are only maintained in paper works and hardly during the construction phase. Later as the owner focuses on the interior works, machine placement etc. the floors are often over loaded with machineries, causing more population load during operational hours, narrowing circulation spaces, thus making it difficult for the people to access the emergency route during an emergency. After the collapse of Spectrum Sweater Factory and Shahrair Fabrics industry in Savar, Dhaka on 11 April 2005, which claimed 74 lives. Tazreen Fashion factory fire at least 117 people were confirmed dead in the fire, and over 200 were injured. Neil Kearney, General Secretary of the Brussels-based International Readymade Garments, Garment and Leather Workers‟ Federation claimed that such accidents are the inevitable consequence of the race to the bottom now under way as a result of unregulated trade in readymade garments and clothing. Responsibility lies with the World Trade 18 Organization, which turns a blind eye to any suggestion that there is a link between trade and the conditions under which goods are manufactured, and with the Government of Bangladesh, whose authorities apply neither planning rules nor labor laws. “Organization, which turns a blind eye to any suggestion that there is a link between trade and the conditions under which goods are manufactured, and with the Government of Bangladesh, whose authorities apply neither planning rules nor labor laws.”

Table: Accidents in textile and RMG industry 2007-2010 (Fire Service and Civil Defense, 2011)

Accidents in textile and RMG industry 2007-2010 (Fire Service and civil Defence, 2010)

A recent survey of some garment’s factories by this author in an industrial area in Dhaka found that factory owners are now much more concerned about fire safety in their factories. At first glance, anyone will agree that they are fully satisfactory in terms of fire safety layout plan. Three out of five garments factories were found designed by architects. All the factories ensured proper installation, arrangements and training of the safety equipment’s such as fire alarm, smoke alarm, fire extinguishers, water supply system etc. But these installations, fire signage and fire drills are not enough in a sense that if, planning of the building is not proper; it can lead to severe tragedy. Plan layout is greatly responsible for the deaths of workers while means of escape comes into question. Faulty route of escape often is probably the main cause of death in factories of our country. Previous examples show that in most cases false fire alarms and locked gates make people nervous and they died of stampede. In short, all the surveyed garments fulfill the requirement of emergency exit. It is provided in all the cases, signage is present and firefighting equipment’s are up to date, a departure from the past. Even fire drill is held once in a month.

Accident Due to Safety Issue:
The situation has improved a lot, but yet a worked-out escape route is still difficult to find. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Routes are blocked by storage materials
  • Machine layout is often staggered
  • Lack of signage for escape route
  • No provision for emergency lighting
  • Doors, opening along escape routes, are not fire resistant
  • Doors are not self-closing and often do not open along the direction of escape.
  • Adequate doors as well as adequate staircases are not provided to aid quick exit
  • Fire exit or emergency staircase lacks proper maintenance
  • Lack of proper exit route to reach the place of safety
  • Parked vehicles, goods and rubbish on the outside of the building obstruct exits to the open air
  • Fire in a Bangladesh factory is likely to spread quickly because the principle of compartmentalization is practiced
  • Lack of awareness among the workers and the owner

Safety of Building and Machinery: Under Section 61 According to the Bangladesh Labor Code 2006
Safety of Building and Machinery defined under section 7 of the Bangladesh labor code 2006:

  1. If it appears to any Inspector that any building or any of its parts or any pathway, machinery or plant in any establishment is in such a condition that it is dangerous to human life or safety, he may direct the employer by serving on him an order in writing to take such measure as he thinks necessary within the time specified therein.
  2. If it appears to any Inspector that the use of any building or any part thereof or any pathway, machinery or plant thereof in an establishment is immediately dangerous to human life or safety, he may, by serving an order in writing on the employer, prohibit its use until it is properly repaired or altered.

Adopting Precaution Regarding Fire defined under section 7 of the Bangladesh labor code 2006:

  1. In every establishment arrangement shall have to be made for the way to go out at the time of conflagration along with at least one alternative staircase maintain connection with every floor and fire extinguishing appliances in the manner prescribed by rules.
  2. If it appears to any Inspector that arrangement for exit under sub – section(1) has not been made, he may, by serving an order in writing upon the employer, direct him to inform him (Inspector) of what arrangement, in his (employer’s) opinion may be made within the time specified therein.
  3. In every establishment the doors affording exit from any room shall not be locked or a fastened so as to enable them to be easily and instantaneously opened from inside while any person is within the room, and all such doors, unless they are or sliding type, shall be constructed to open outwards or where the door is between the rooms, towards the direction of the nearest exit from the building and no such door shall be locked or obstructed while work is being carried in the room.
  4. In every establishment every window, door or other exit affording means of escape in case of fire, other than the means of exit in ordinary use, shall be distinctively marked by Bangla letters in red color or by any other easily comprehensible manner.
  5. In every establishment there shall be provided Clearly audible signaling system of giving warning at the time of fire or danger to every worker employed therein.
  6. A free pathway giving access to each means of escape at the time of fire shall be maintained for the use of the workers employed in each room of the establishment.
  7. The establishment wherein 10 (ten) or more workers are ordinary employed in any place above the ground floor, or explosive or highly inflammable materials are used or stored, effective measures shall have to be taken so that all the workers employed therein are well known to the means of escape at the time of fire and can receive full training about their duty to be done at that time.
  8. The factories or establishment having fifty or more workers /employees shall have to arrange a fire extinguishing demonstration at least once a year and a record book in this respect as may be prescribed shall have to maintained be the employer.

First Aid Appliances:
Section 40 of the Factories act 1965 & section 89 0f the Bangladesh labor act 2006- Ensures the medical facilities even first aid for the workers. The section clearly lays down that there shall in every establishment be provided and maintained, so as to be readily accessible during the working hours, first aid boxes or almirahs equipped with the prescribed contents. The number of such boxes or almirahs shall not be less than one for every 150 workers ordinarily employed in the establishment. All such boxes and almirahs shall be kept under of a responsible person who is trained in first aid treatment & who shall always be available during the working hours in the establishment. A notice shall be affixed in every work room stating the name of the person in charge of that first aid box or almirah provided in respect of that room and such person shall wear a badge so as to facilitate identification. In every establishment wherein three hundred or more workers are employed there shall be provided & maintained an ambulance room or dispensary of the prescribed size containing the prescribed equipment or similar facilities, in the charge of such medical & nursing staff as may be described. The first aid boxes or cup board shall be distinctively marked with a red cross on a white background and shall contain the following equipment’s.

For factories in which the number of persons employed does not exceed ten or in case of factories in which mechanical power is not used does not exceed fifty persons each first aid box or cupboard shall contain the following equipment’s:

  • 6 small sterilized dressings
  • 3 medium size sterilized dressings
  • 3 large size sterilized dressings
  • 3 large size burn dressings
  • 1 (1 oz) bottle containing a 2 % alcoholic solution of iodine
  • 1 (1 oz bottle) containing rectified sprit
  • One pair of scissors
  • 1 copy of first aid leaflet
  • Analgesic tablet, ointment for burns and suitable surgical antiseptic solutions

For factories in which more than fifty people works, each first aid box or cup- board shall contain the followings equipment:

  • 24 small Sterilized dressings
  • 12 medium size sterilized dressings.
  • 12 large size sterilized dressings
  • 12 large size bum dressings
  • 12 (½ oz.) packets of sterilized cotton wool.
  • Tourniquet
  • 1 (4 oz.) bottle containing a 2 percent alcoholic solution of iodine
  • One pair of scissors
  • 1 (4 oz) bottle of rectified spirit.
  • 1 copy of first aid leaflet
  • 12 (4-inch-wide roller bandages).
  • 12 (2 inches wider) roller bandages.
  • 2 rolls of adhesive plaster.
  • 6 triangular bandages
  • 2 packets of safety pins
  • A supply of suitable splints
  • Analgesic tablets, ointment’s for burns and suitable surgical antiseptic solution.

Planning Considerations
Architects are in some cases responsible for the fire accidents. The location of staircases, the location of entry and exit, route to the staircases, and machine arrangement are in the domain of the architect’s responsibility. Some basic considerations are required for a good design by the architects while designing any factory building:

  • Measures should be taken to lessen the possibilities of fire- incident
  • In the event of fire, facilities to escape safely, quickly and unaided to a place to safety or a place of refuge
  • Containment of fire within the building
  • Reduce the chances of fire spreading to adjoining buildings

Safety Layout Plan for a Three Storied Readymade Garments Industry

safety plan of a garment store
Fig: Safety layout plan of ground floor

Fire Safety:
The layout is designed for a ground floor of a garments industry where floor space is 300-meter square, total worker 150, 10 fire extinguishers is placed in distance between 75 feet.

Health Safety:
As here works more than 150 people so at least 3 fast aid box should be placed to a properly trained medical assistant. He should be available at factory floor during the working hour. The first aid box place must be signed by Red Cross marks.

Smoke detector, emergency alarm, fire alarm etc. should place properly in the factory floor.

In multi-storied buildings, staircases are the means of escape during any fire. The architect should provide alternate staircases to be used in case one staircase is under fire. There is a misconception that two staircases are enough for any buildings. But it is not logical. Staircases should be provided according to size of the factory, the area and the number of people working. The location of staircases is also another important matter. Alternate staircases should be located as far as possible from each other. Also, merely providing appropriate number of staircases in proper location is not again enough; the staircases should be protected by fire-door and fire-resistant materials. The distance between alternate staircases or the travel distance of a worker from his work station to a place of safety should be maximum 30 meters (based on the travel distance of an average person in case of energy) and an escapee worker must find a place of safety (a refuge cell or a protected staircase) within 2.5 minute. But most of garments industries are found to be faulty on this count. In some cases, alternate staircase is provided at perfect distance. But those are again faulty as they are not fire-protected staircases.

Sewing Section:

safety plan for a sewing section of a garment factory
Fig: Safety layout plan for a sewing section of a garment factory

Fire safety: As maximum accident in garments factories are occurred due to fire hazards, so there needs to extra safety for fire. Here 9 fire extinguisher have been placed in between 75 feet distance one from another.

First aid box: First aid box required at least 8.

Alarm: Alarm device for smoke and fire should be settled down in the proper place.

Route to staircases: While staircases are the utmost important for designing escape route for multi-storied garments factories, route to the staircases is also important. Although the staircases may be protected from fire, if the workers cannot find their way out to safety then all will be in vain. Protected route has the same importance as protected staircase. Route to staircase can be corridors or a ramp. If it is a ramp then it must have a slope of 1:10 and it must be non-slip since the workers will rush toward the staircase to reach the place of safety. This escape route should be provided with emergency lighting, should be of the same width as the exit door, and should be direct and without any obstruction. Often storage items and furniture block the route which can turn out to be crucial should people want to escape when a fire breaks out. Congested working place can also hamper escape. Arrangement of machineries should not become an obstruction for running away from fire. There should be regular fire drills to make the workers trained to face a fire and prevent any panic from starting. Workers, most of whom are women, become panic-stricken and start running to and fro most often only on hearing about a fire and thus contribute to causing an ill-fated stampede. We need to remember that when there is a fire, the first thing one should do is to run away from it. And this is what everyone does in such a situation. But the situation become dangerous and tragic when the escape doorways and gates are found locked.

You may also like: Safety Rules for Garment Sewing Machine Operators

Precautionary Measures to be Adopted (not exhaustive):

  • Building should be constructed with fire resisting materials
  • Adequate exits and proper escape routes should be designed
  • Protection against fire and smoke should be ensured
  • Electrical wiring must be properly designed, installed and maintained
  • Escape routes should be lighted at all times, kept clear, be indicated by signs
  • Regular fire drills should be held
  • Doors should be protected and should open along the direction of escape
  • Doors should not open on the steps and sufficient space in the landing should be provided.
  • Smoke/Fire alarm systems must be installed
  • Adequate number of extinguishers should be provided
  • Prior relationship with local Fire services should be established

Finishing Section:

safety plan for second floor of a garment factory
Fig: Safety layout plan of second floor of a garments factory

Fire safety: Fire safety refers to precautions that are taken to prevent or reduce the likelihood of a fire that may result in death, injury, or property damage, alert those in a structure to the presence of an uncontrolled fire in the event one occurs, better enable those threatened by a fire to survive in and evacuate from affected areas, or to reduce the damage caused by a fire. Fire safety measures include those that are planned during the construction of a building or implemented in structures that are already standing, and those that are taught to occupants of the building. Threats to fire safety are referred to as fire hazards. A fire hazard may include a situation that increases the likelihood a fire may start or may impede escape in the event a fire occurs.

Safety issues: Outside the factory building
Safety issues are related to the outside conditions also. In our country, buildings are so closely spaced that if one building accidentally catches fire, it is possible that the building beside the affected one may also catch fire. Again, fire fighters face many problems due to this inadequate setback between buildings. Garments factories of Bangladesh are yet to be satisfactory in terms of fire safety. There should be a national strategy to raise awareness among the common mass and specially the workers before tragedy strikes again. Another important factor is awareness should also be raised among planners, architects, engineers and constructors. If some simple factors are considered and some suitable measures are adopted, risk of life and property can be minimized to a great extent.

Fire Safety:
Fire safety is often a component of building safety. Those who inspect buildings for violations of the Fire Code and go into schools to educate children on Fire Safety topics are fire department members known as fire prevention officers. The Chief Fire Prevention Officer or Chief of Fire Prevention will normally train newcomers to the Fire Prevention Division and may also conduct inspections or make presentations.

Key elements of a fire safety policy:

  1. Building a facility in accordance with the version of the local building code
  2. Maintaining a facility and conducting yourself in accordance with the provisions of the fire code. This is based on the occupants and operators of the building being aware of the applicable regulations and advice.

Examples of these include:

  • Not exceeding the maximum occupancy within any part of the building.
  • Maintaining proper fire exits and proper exit signage (e.g., exit signs pointing to them that can function in a power failure)
  • Compliance with electrical codes to prevent overheating and ignition from electrical faults or problems such as poor wire insulation or overloading wiring, conductors, or other fixtures with more electric current than they are rated for.
  • Placing and maintaining the correct type of fire extinguishers in easily accessible places.
  • Properly storing and using, hazardous materials that may be needed inside the building for storage or operational requirements (such as solvents in spray booths).
  • Prohibiting flammable materials in certain areas of the facility.
  • Periodically inspecting buildings for violations, issuing Orders To Comply and, potentially, prosecuting or closing buildings that are not in compliance, until the deficiencies are corrected or condemning it in extreme cases.
  • Maintaining fire alarm systems for detection and warning of fire.
  • Obtaining and maintaining a complete inventory of firestops.
  • Ensuring that spray fireproofing remains undamaged.
  • Maintaining a high level of training and awareness of occupants and users of the building to avoid obvious mistakes, such as the propping open of fire doors.
  • Conduct fire drills at regular intervals throughout the year.

Fire Safety Requirements:
Fire safety requirements are commensurate with:

  1. The number of persons involved in the industrial activity
  2. The type of industry and processes involved.
  3. The layout, size, design and nature of construction of the place of work

The main criteria which are considered with regard to fire safety requirements are

  1. Means of escape
  2. Means for fighting fire
  3. Means for giving warning in case of fire and
  4. Any dangerous substances stored, used or handled

Any promoter desiring to develop and invest in the industrial sector shall ensure that the criteria at 2.2 are satisfied. The promoter shall conduct a fire risk assessment to determine the requirements of fire safety and adhere to those requirements specific to his case – (check list annex to conduct survey).

Means of Escape
Means of escape are structural and integral part of the construction which allows people to proceed to a place of safety in the event of a fire.

  1. Means of escape includes exit doors, corridors and staircase which lead to the open air.
  2. Every promoter shall ensure that people who are in the building can get out
  3. Safely and quickly in the event of a fire.

A single route is accepted as means of escape where:

  1. The distance to be travelled to reach the final exit is 18 m in case of an office and 12 m in other cases,
  2. The route to the final exit is protected and is at least 1.1 m wide,
  3. The floor height does not exceed 9m and
  4. The total number of person does not exceed 60.

Protected route means the route to final exits is rendered safe from heat, smoke or toxics vapors that may be produced in the event of fire by the provision of fire resisting material alarm the route or fire doors or by pressurization. In circumstances where the conditions are beyond those specified in 3.4 an alternate Means of escape is required. Where occupants may be endangered through obstruction of any single exit due to fire or smoke there shall be provided an alternate means of exit. Spiral staircases and vertical ladder are not acceptable as alternate means of escape. At ground floor level an exit alternate to the existing one is acceptable as an alternate means of escape. In building above ground floor level, a standard staircase made of metal or other noncombustible material is acceptable as an alternate means of escape.

An external staircase is acceptable provided that-

  1. There is limited opening on the side where the staircase is sited
  2. Windows do not open directly on the staircase
  3. Materials used are protected against corrosion and slips
  4. The staircase is illuminated during night.

An emergency staircase shall satisfy the following specifications:

  1. It shall not be less than one meter wide
  2. Treads shall not be less than 225 mm
  3. Risers shall not be more than 190 mm
  4. Angle of descent shall not exceeds 45 degrees
  5. There shall be not more than 16 risers in a flight
  6. There shall be not more than 2 flights without a change in direction
  7. All doors giving access to the staircase shall open outwards

Exit doors, corridors and staircases shall be kept free from obstruction at all material time. Emergency exit doors shall (except in the case of a sliding door) be constructed to open outwards. Whenever a building is occupied, emergency exit doors shall not be locked or fastened in such a manner that it cannot be easily and immediately opened from inside. The contents of any room shall be arranged in such a way to allow free circulation for occupants. Every exit door affording means of escape shall be marked by an exit white pictogram of minimum size 100 mm on a board with green background. When the direction to the emergency exit may not be apparent to an occupant an exit sign with an arrow indicating direction shall be displayed. If occupancy is permitted at night or if normal lighting levels are reduced during working times, exit signs shall be illuminated and emergency lighting provided along escape routes.

Means for Fighting Fire
Every promoter shall provide first aid firefighting equipment of suitable type specific to the circumstances of his case. Such as:

  • First Aid firefighting equipment includes portable fire extinguishers and hose reel.
  • Four types of portable fire extinguishers using water or foam, or dry powder or carbon dioxide are available.
  • A water fire extinguisher is appropriate for fire involving solid materials normally of an organic nature in which combustion occurs with the formation of glowing embers. (Class A fires). E.g. wood, paper, textiles, clothing.
  • A foam fire extinguisher is appropriate for fires involving liquids or liquefied solids (Class B fires). E.g. petrol, oil, thinner
  • A dry powder fire extinguisher is appropriate for fire involving solid materials normally of an organic nature in which combustion occurs with the formation of glowing embers, liquid or liquefied solids, gasses and metals. (Class A, B, C and D). E.g. wood, paper, textiles, clothing, petrol, thinner, oil and electrical appliances.
  • A carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is appropriate for fire involving solid materials normally of an organic nature in which combustion occurs with the formation of glowing embers, liquid or liquefied solids, gasses (Class A, B, and C). e.g. wood, paper, textiles, clothing, petrol, thinner and electrical appliances.
  • These fire extinguishers are available in capacity of 9 lts for water and foam, 2 kg and 5 kg for carbon dioxide, 2 kg, 4 kg, 6 kg and 9 kg for dry powder type.
  • One 4 kg dry powder or one 2 kg carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is recommended for every 100 sq meters or part thereof according to the risk.
  • Portable fire extinguishers shall be preferably sited on the line of escape routes, near to room exits inside or outside according to the risk. 4.11 In multi-storey building, portable fire extinguishers shall be sited at the same position on each floor, that is top of stairs flights or at corner of corridors where possible in groups forming fire points, where possible in shallow recess.
  • Portable fire extinguishers shall be installed in such a way that the carrying handle lies one meter off the floor level.
  • In large buildings, portable fire extinguishers shall be sited in such a place so that no person shall travel more than 30 m to reach them.
  • Portable fire extinguishers shall be maintained in operational order at all material time.
  • The equipment shall be regularly inspected and tested. A record of such inspection and test shall be kept.
  • A hose reel installation which is a first aid and firefighting appliance shall be provided in premises to extinguish ordinary combustible materials such as wood, cloth, paper and any matter that produces an ash (Class A fire fires); where a portable fire extinguisher will be insufficient.
  • It consists essentially of a reel, inlet pipe, manual or automatic valve (as the case may be), hose and a shut-off nozzle.
  • The drum or hose support of the first coil of hose shall be not less than 150mm in diameter. The fittings to which the hose is attached shall be arranged in such a way that the hose is not restricted by additional layer of hose, being place on it.
  • The reel shall be of sufficient size to carry the length of hose and rotate around a spindle so that the hose can be freely run out.
  • If a manual inlet valve is provided, it shall be of screw-down type above ground stop valve or gate valve type. It should be closed by running the handle in a clockwise direction. The direction of opening should be indicated by an arrow marked on the handle.
  • If the valve is automatic, the valve should open automatically when the hose is run out of the reel after four complete revolutions.
  • If the diameter of the hose is 19 mm, its length shall be not more than 45 metres. (b) If the diameter of the hose is 25 mm, its length shall be not more than 30 metres.
  • A nozzle of 4.5 mm to 6.5 mm capable of providing either jet or spray shall be incorporated at the end of the hose reel.
  • A hose reel installation shall be connected to a permanent water supply which is under pressure.
  • In vertical installations (tall buildings) the hose reel shall provide a jet of approximately 6m and the output shall be at least 24 litres per minute as follows: Nozzle diameter Minimum running pressure at the entry of reel 6.5 mm 1.5 bar 4.5 mm 4 bar
  • In horizontal installations the output shall be at least 24 litres per minute
  • One hose reel shall be provided to cover every 500m2 of floor space or part thereof.
  • Hose reels shall be sited in prominent and accessible positions at each floor level adjacent to exits in corridors on exit routes, in such a way that the nozzle of the hose can be taken in very room and within 6m of each part of a room.
  • Fire hose reel assemblies shall be provided with a notice bearing the words “FIRE HOSE REEL” in white letters on a red background. The methods of operation (of the valve) should be displayed adjacent to each assembly.
  • A hose reel installation shall be maintained in operational order at all material time. The installation shall be regularly tested and a record shall be kept

Means of Giving Warning in Case of Fire

  • A fire alarm system is required in a building for one or both of the following purposes:
    • To enable people in the building to be informed of an outbreak of fire and evacuate the building before the escape routes are affected by the product of fire. and
    • To enable early detection and mitigate damage that may be caused by the fire by activating firefighting resources.
  • A promoter in the industrial sector shall ensure that a fire warning system is installed at his place of work if the number of persons exceeds 60 or inflammable substances are stored, used and handled.
  • A fire alarm system consists basically of break glass manual call points which are wired electrically to sounders / sirens and a control indicator panel.
  • Break glass call points shall be installed at 1.4 meters above floor level preferably near exit and emergency staircase. In large premises no one shall travel more than 30 mats to reach a call point.
  • Sounders/sirens shall be strategically placed in sufficient numbers and in such a way that the sound is audible throughout the building. The sound shall be distinctive and at least 5 decibel above normal noise in the premises.
  • The basic system can be enhanced by introducing automatic fire detectors.
  • Fire detectors are designed to detect one or more of the three characteristics of a fire: heat, smoke or flame.
  • No one type is suitable for all applications and the final choice depend on the individual circumstances.
  • Heat or smoke detectors are suitable for most buildings. Flame detectors are mainly used to supplement heat or smoke detectors in high compartments or outdoor wide area storage’s.
  • A fire warning system shall be designed and installed in accordance to BS 5839 or any other equivalent standard.
  • Every component of the system shall be regularly tested and maintained in operational order. A record of test shall be kept.

If the quantity used/stored or handled exceeds the quantity mentioned in the promoter shall keep the liquid in a store constructed for the purpose.

The store house shall be constructed according to the following specification:

  1. The walls shall be constructed of brick, stone, concrete or other non-inflammable material, the floor of concrete or other impervious material and the roof of re-enforced concrete or other non-inflammable material.
  2. The store shall be provided with a well-fitted metal sliding door, or a metal door opening outwards of not less than 3.5mm thick, carried on an iron door frame. Such door shall have an all-round over-lap of not less than 50mm and shall be fitted with a substantial lock.
  3. The window frames shall be constructed of metal and fitted with fire resisting glass panes or metal sheets.
  4. Every store shall be constructed in such manner or surrounded by walls not less than 150mm in height forming a well of such character that the inflammable liquid contained therein cannot escape therefrom.
  5. Low and high level means of ventilation shall be provided in the store.
  6. The openings shall be protected by non-corrodible wire gauze of not less than 0.9mm.
  7. A store shall not be situated in such a position that will impede the escape of any person from the premises, or endanger any room, building, or premises in the case of fire.
  8. Any store with a floor area in excess of 10m2 shall be provided with at least two doors, constructed as described in paragraph (2) above.

Every store shall be maintained at all times in accordance with the provisions of this specification:

  • All lights installed shall be of incandescent electric type which shall be enclosed in an outer flame proof fitting and all wiring shall be armored cable or enclosed in seamless metal tubes; the junctions of which are screwed together. All switches, junction boxes, fuses and other electrical equipment shall be outside the store. All armored cables and seamless tubes shall be efficiently earthed.
  • No person shall use any store or cause or permit such store to be used for any purpose other than the storage of inflammable liquid, oils and their containers; and engage in or cause or permit any other person to be engaged in any store unless all the doors of the store are fully Open and kept entirely unobstructed.
  • No person shall enter any store or cause or permit any store to be entered without the express permission of the occupier or other responsible person in charge of such store.

Miscellaneous Requirements

  1. Electrical Installation
  2. The design, construction, maintenance or alteration of installations shall be carried out by qualified persons.
  3. All electrical systems shall be constructed, installed, protected, maintained, inspected and tested, so as to prevent danger so far as is reasonably practicable.
  4. All electrical conductors shall be of sufficient size and current-carrying capacity for the purposes for which they are intended.
  5. Every electrical joint and connection shall be of proper construction as regards conductance, insulation and mechanical strength.
  6. Every installation and every circuit shall be protected by means of fuse, circuit breakers and earthling.
  7. Every circuit shall be so arranged as to prevent the persistence of dangerous earth leakage currents.
  8. Effective means, suitably placed for ready operations shall be provided to cut off the supply of electrical energy on any electrical equipment, as may be necessary to prevent or remove danger.
  9. Every installation shall be divided into circuits as necessary to avoid danger in the event of a fault and facilitate safe operations, inspections, testing and maintenance.
  10. Protective devices shall be arranged and identified so that the circuits protected are easily recognized.
  11. Cables to be installed on walls shall incorporate a sheath suitably resistant to any mechanical damage likely to occur, or to be contained in a conduit system or other enclosure affording adequate protection against such damage.
  12. Cable with the color combination green and yellow shall be reserved exclusively for the identification of protective conductor and shall not be used for any other purpose.
  13. All fixed luminaries and lamps shall be placed or guarded so as to prevent ignition of any material which in the conditions of use foreseen are likely to be placed in proximity to the luminaries or lamps. Any shade or guard used for this purpose shall be suitable to withstand the heat from the luminaries or lamp.

Fire Prevention

  1. Fire prevention principles and measures aim to avoid the inception of a fire.
  2. It involves the control of fire hazards at the place of work and observance of basic rules to avoid ignition sources coming into contact with combustible materials.
  3. The promoter of an industrial sector shall ensure that his employees are aware of basic fire prevention measures and strictly observe the rules at the place of work.

The main causes of fire can be classified as:

  • Faulty electrical equipment’s / installations
  • Smoking materials
  • Frictional, welding, cutting sparks, naked flames,
  • Spontaneous combustion
  • Arson

Fire prevention measures

  • Electrical installation
  • Smoking material – A ‘No Smoking’ policy shall be enforced at the place of work
  • Waste disposal
  • Flammable products
  • Arson – exercise regular patrol and enforce strict surveillance

Fire Procedure

  1. A fire procedure outlines the main features of a fire emergency response plan which the promoter in the industrial sector shall establish and implement.
  2. The plan contains measures to prevent the occurrence of a fire, fire protection measures and the course of action to be taken in the event of a fire.

The actions to be taken in the event of a fire include the following:

  • Raise the alarm – Anyone who discovers a fire shall immediately inform all his colleagues and neighbors who might be affected by the fire.
  • Call the fire brigade – Dial 115 – Give the brigade distinct information concerning the fire – Your name and telephone number – Exact location of building/site – Give information about the fire such as its nature, the floor involved or if prisons trapped.
  • Attack the fire – Try to extinguish the fire with the available first aid firefighting equipment only if safe to do so.
  • Evacuate the building – All persons not involved in fighting the fire shall leave the premises through the nearest.

Garments factories are helping much to solve our unemployment problem. At the same time, it is creating new problems like environmental pollution, degraded lifestyle of garment workers, settlement problems, health problems, etc. Here, we shall discuss about the Fire accidents in garments factories, problems that are created by unplanned work environment, disorganized workers, poor building design, and largely due to the lack of concern of factory-owners on this issue. Bangladesh has entered into the world market through the products of our garments factories which are made by poor Bangladeshis of whom majority are women. But this light of prosperity is darkened when we cannot guarantee our workers’ safety and security. Workers are less secure as monetary remunerations are never beyond just enough, sometimes even less.


  1. NFPA eLearning On-line catalog
  2. Fire prevention software
  3. Amernic, Jerry, “Fire Safety Disaster.” Canadian Healthcare Facilities Volume 28 Issue 3, ed Amie Silverwood. Spring 2008, 26.
  4. Fire Fighter Fatalities in the U.S. in 2002. Fema, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, July 2003
  5. “Canadian firm generates digital fire safety plans.” Building Strategies, ed. Susan Maclean. Spring 2007, 14
  6. Fire Safety for wheelchair users A fire safety guide for wheelchair users published by United Spinal Association
  7. Sample Fire Code Table of Contents from International Code Council
  8. Complete Fire Industry Guide
  9. Journal of Fire Protection Engineering for the latest research, methods and developments within Fire Protection Engineering
  10. US government site on fire safety (
  11. PDF
  13. design

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