Desk Report: A survey conducted by the non-governmental organization Safety and Rights Society (SRS) based on newspaper reports found that 333 workers (including 49 killed in Sitakunda accidents) were killed in 241 workplace accidents across the country in the last six months (January 1-June 30, 2022). In 2021, at the same time, 306 workers were killed in 220 workplace accidents across the country.
SRS prepared this report with monitoring closely 26 daily newspapers (15 national and 11 local newspapers) from January 01 to June 30 of 2022. This report didn’t include deaths of workers outside the workplace, or in road accidents occurred back and forth.
The survey found that in this first six months, the highest number of worker fatality is at transport sector. 138 transport-workers were killed in road crashes. Next number goes for the service sector. There 100 workers were killed at the workplaces like hotels, automobile servicing workshops and power supply sector. Besides, 48 workers killed in construction sector, 26 workers were killed in manufacturing sector (like garment, plastic factory, ship breaking, steel/re-rolling mill, etc) and 21 in the agriculture sector.
The analysis shows that road accident is top among the causes of workplace accidents with 153 workers death. It found that 57 in fire incidents, 25 workers died from electrocution, 23 died after being crushed into falling machinery or by heavy load or hard objects, 19 died after falling from heights (i.e. from scaffolds). 15 workers died cause of lightning/ thunder strikes. 15 workers died in explosions, 9 workers died in building/ wall/ roof collapses and 9 were suffocated to death by inhaling poisonous gas at septic or water tanks. The rest of the 8 workers died of drowning.
Executive director of SRS, Sekender Ali Mina said death in workplace accidents was not desirable. We have only observed deaths of drivers and helpers in road accidents. The authorities concerned with controlling the transport sector would have to step up surveillance otherwise accidents would continue to increase. One of the reasons for the increase in accidents is the negligence of employers in the safety of workers in the workplace and the lack of proper inspection of government departments. We have seen the negligence of the concerned authorities in the Shitakunda accident. I hope that the concerned authorities will soon take action on how to identify the causes of these accidents and reduce them. Decent working environment is must for a sustainable development and every expenditure for ensuring safety of workers should be treated as an investment.
According to the survey, uncontrolled transportation system, obstruction of law enforcement, reckless driving and incompetent drivers are the main causes of transport accidents. The company cited lack of firefighting system in the factory, inefficiency and negligence in chemical storage, lack of emergency exit in the factory building, non-receipt of permission from the concerned department for construction of the factory and non-training of the workers as the reasons for the recent increase in fire deaths. The company has identified the cause of the accident as electrical connection without any safety measures such as turning on the motor with wet hands, working under the overhead power line, lifting the iron rod along the side of the electric wire flowing through the building. Moreover, these accidents are happening due to not using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Safety and Rights Society has proposed that safety measures should be extended to all the sectors with proper enforcement of the laws by government regulatory bodies which include RAJUK, Department of Inspection for Factories & Establishment, as well as to the garment sectors Employers. Industrial employers must establish health and safety policies for their respective organizations; make a safety plan before undertaking construction work; provide proper PPE at free of cost and ensure holding of a regular fire drill and health and safety training irrespective to all the industrial-workers.