Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Denim makers told: stop sandblasting

June 2011

Retailers and brand companies have been told by their membership organization to remove all sandblasted denim products from their supply chains.
The Brussels-based Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) has recommended that its more than 700 member companies exclude sandblasted garments because of the safety hazards to workers.

Sandblasting, a finishing technique for giving denim a faded or ‘stressed’ look, is dangerous because it exposes workers to silica particles.

Some large clothes companies, such as Levi Strauss and H&M, have already announced a global moratorium on the practice. Safeguards can be created but at present cannot be guaranteed.

Jan Eggert, BSCI’s chief executive, said: ‘By recommending our members to ban sandblasting, BSCI provides guidance on the potentially serious health and safety risks exposed to workers in factories.

‘Our aim is to help companies understand the risks they take when developing products and sourcing from suppliers. We encourage our member companies to be proactive and help to improve the working environments in factories and protect the lives of workers.’

BSCI has developed a guidance paper, outlining the risks of sandblasting and suggesting the steps companies can take.

The organization says future audit reports, which members must undergo as part of BSCI’s monitoring system, will contain specific information on sandblasting.

Social Compliance Initiative | Global | Supply Chain Ethics

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