The Exact Cause Was Never Determined“An investigation ensued and the owners of the company were ordered to stand trial on charges of manslaughter. The exact cause of the fire was never determined, although many contended it was caused by a spark from one of the sewing machines or a carelessly tossed cigarette.”

It’s natural to assume that the description in the above quote is about the latest in a string of tragedies that has become so familiar in the garment factories in Bangladesh. Truth be told, that snippet comes from, and it’s about a fire that happened 105 years ago in New York City. The fire claimed the lives of 146 people, most of them immigrant women and young girls. So many people crowded on to the fire escape, that it collapsed. These details from more than 100 years ago are hauntingly similar to descriptions we’ve heard about many recent events from across the globe.

Public outcry from long ago helped pave the way for regulations and safety measures in the garment industries. We need to think twice about turning back the hands of time and remember that these regulations were put in place for a reason. While we certainly cannot regulate conditions and processes worldwide, like so much in manufacturing of promotional products, standard operating procedure should always be trust, but verify.

If you’d like to read more, please check out my column at Promo Marketing Blog.

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