Fires in Indonesian garment factories have been frequently in the news this year. As well as the obvious human cost, the financial cost can also be significant and can deeply damage the Indonesian industry as a whole in terms of international reputation and subsequent opportunities. Much remains to be done in Indonesia to strengthen both prevention and response to fires.
Overall there is an encouraging downward trend in non-compliance for most of the questions related to fire safety by the second assessment visit by Better Work Indonesia. The most striking improvement has been in terms of performing an assessment of general occupational safety and health issues in the factory.
The main findings are as follows:
♦ Although most factories (62%) had an adequate number of emergency exits, these were not found to be clearly marked in 43 out of 64 factories assessed. Moreover, these exits were either inaccessible, obstructed and/or unlocked in 39 factories.
♦ 40 factories (63%) were out of compliance with storage of chemicals and hazardous substances . However, it is worth pointing out that storage of chemicals and hazardous substances does not always pose a direct fire hazard. This is most often a cause of concern when incompatible chemicals are stored near each other. However, only 2 of 25 factories are out of compliance with safeguarding of possible sources of ignition.
♦ 30 factories lacked adequate fire fighting equipment and 36 did not have a fire detection and alarm system. However, periodic emergency drills were conducted in all of the factories except 3, and an appropriate number of workers were trained to use the firefighting equipment in all but 2.