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The horrendous fire incident in the garment factory in Karachi should serve as a wake-up call for our government and relevant agencies.

A proper safety monitoring agency should be constituted at the federal level to streamline effective safety procedures for all types of works and facilities;

On construction contracts, safety advance should be given to contractors compulsorily along with mobilisation advance before commencement of work.

No work should be allowed to start on site until and unless the contractor complies with all relevant safety procedures and processes; for small structures also architects should design the fire-fighting arrangement which should be in line with necessary codes of the US-based National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).

Architects and project managers should constantly monitor and certify the safety aspects on work sites and ensure effective implementation of standards in order to eliminate chances of any incident; the contractor’s safety officer should be held responsible in case of any accident; electrical inspection by the agency concerned should be mandatory for upcoming electrical facilites in a building and the certificate should be issued by competent and honest professionals.

Non-compliance with this rule by clients, builders and owners should be treated as an offence; periodic safety monitoring of factories, mills, shopping centres, refineries, etc, vis-a-vis electrical operations and fire-fighting facilities should be conducted on a periodic basis by the relevant safety agency and improvement standards should be implemented.

UMAR M. MAKHDUMI Karachi