Bangladeshi tannery workers face health and safety crisis

Author: Rock Ronald Rozario, The Union of Catholic Asians News (UCAN), Hongkong, Published on: 4 February 2019

"Bangladeshi tannery workers face health and safety crisis", 30 January 2019

Most workers in Bangladesh’s export-oriented leather industry suffer from extreme health hazards due to unsafe working conditions...

About 61 workers at Savar Leather Industrial Estate, near capital Dhaka, are facing a health and safety crisis, according to the Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation, a Bangladeshi labor rights group...

Some 93 percent...said they had no training before joining the industry, while 61 percent said they have been suffering from health problems due to the absence of any formal or informal safety mechanisms at their workplace...

[The report] also found that toxic chemicals used in manufacturing, chemical gases, inadequate lighting, dust, noise, a polluted environment and a lack of safety measures are major driving factors behind health hazards...The findings are nothing new. Most workers suffer from health problems as owners neglect workers’ rights for huge profits...[T]he Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA)...said the study is exaggerated... 

Most of Bangladesh's leather exports within Asia are sent to South Korea, Hong Kong and China, according to the BTA. Among the European buyers are Italy, Spain and Portugal, where Bangladeshi leather is used by high-street brands.

...The industry moved to the new site [at the Savar Leather Insutrial Estate] following pressure from environmental groups, rights groups, Bangladesh Supreme Court and foreign governments including the European Union. Extremely high environmental pollution and health hazards were rife at [the former site]...

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Related companies: Bangladesh Tanners Association