Wal-Mart audited Tazreen in 2011, giving it an ‘‘orange’’ or high-risk rating. Months later it did a second audit, and early this year the factory was no longer authorized to produce merchandise for the retail giant. However, an AP reporter who visited the factory last week found Wal-Mart brands were still being made there. The company said a supplier — who has since been fired — had moved Wal-Mart production there without its knowledge.
Akter, the rights activist, estimates that more than half the nation’s more than 4,000 garment factories have safety arrangements only on paper.
Factory owners ‘‘are very powerful, or backed by powerful associations and people,’’ Akter said. She added that many inspectors are bribed to ignore violations.
In the two weeks since the blaze, the fire department has inspected 232 factories in the industrial area where Tazreen was located. It found that more than one-quarter of them — 64 — lacked fire safety licenses or safety measures such as fire extinguishers, water reservoirs and workers trained to fight a fire, said Dhaka fire chief M. Abdus Salam.
Those 64 factories will be shut down if they fail to address the issues within a month, Salam said.
In the meantime, they continue producing clothes.