Bangladesh: Worker casualties at shipyards continue without any intervention
Author: Anwar Hussain, Dhaka Tribune, Published on: 28 October 2019
"Ship-breaking yards, a nightmare for workers", 19 October 2019
According to Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), 18 ship-breakers died while 11 others sustained injuries in 13 workplace accidents, so far this year.
In 2018, 18 ship-breakers died and 12 others were injured in 17 workplace accidents.
The DIFE lodged 29 cases in total against the ship-breaking yards with the labour court from January 2018 till now.
According to an NGO, 21 workers died and 38 others sustained injuries at the ship breaking yards from January to October of this year.
After analyzing yard accidents over the years, it has been found that workers mostly die from explosions or after coming into contact with toxic materials from ships.
Accidents, including inhaling dangerous substances like carbon monoxide or falling from dizzying heights with no safety harness, are major causes of workplace injuries in the ship-breaking industry.
Other causes of workplace casualties include workers getting crushed by falling steel beams and heavy plates, as well as cylinder, boiler, and generator explosions and electrical shocks.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), ship-breaking has become a major occupational and environmental health problem in the world.
Ship-breaking is a difficult process due to the structural complexity of ships, and generates many environmental, safety, and health hazards.
It is done largely by the private sector and is rarely subject to safety controls or inspection.