In the aftermath of a building collapse that killed nearly 400 people in Bangladesh, the US has raised with its companies issues related to safety and working conditions of workers at their factories in that country.

“The US actively directly engages with the highest levels of Bangladesh government, (along) with exporters, and buyers on the issues of workers’ rights and safe working conditions,” State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said.

The businesses operating in the ill-fated building near Dhaka appear to have links to numerous companies in the US and Europe, Ventrell said in his daily news conference.

“We continue to speak with many US companies that source from Bangladesh about workplace safety and the role that buyers can play in improving working conditions,” he said.

Describing it a terrible tragedy, Ventrell said “our hearts continue to go out to the victims”.

“We will continue to engage with US companies to discuss what role they can play in improving working conditions, including in Bangladesh,” Ventrell said.

The eight-storey Rana Plaza near capital Dhaka, which housed five garment factories, a branch of Brac Bank and a shopping complex, had collapsed on April 24.