At least three workers sustained burn injuries in an explosion while working at a shipbreaking yard in Sitakunda upazila of Chattogram yesterday.
The explosion occurred at a yard named Jamuna Shipbreakers located at Shitalpur area. The accident occurred while the workers were cutting pipes of an oil tanker named MT Agros.
The injured workers are Pilot Hossen (22), Abdus Samad (40) and Md Jihad (18). Among them Pilot and Jihad are fitter workers while Samad used to work as a cutter worker.
Abdus Samad hailed from Negassor of Kurigram district while the other two are from Sonaichori union of Sitakunda.
Shilabroto Das, nayek of Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH) police outpost, told The Daily Star the trio were brought to CMCH with burn injuries around 1:30am. They were admitted to the burn unit of CMCH.
Dr Rafique Uddin Ahmed, head of the burn unit said the injured have burn injuries ranging from 20 to 30 percent. They also had inhalation injury and seemed to have inhaled smoke from the fire.
When this correspondent tried to contact Liakot Ali Chowdhury, owner of Jamuna Shipbreakers, he did not receive the call, despite several attempts.
On condition of anonymity, fellow workers of the injured who witnessed the incident told The Daily Star that the pipe the workers were cutting is known as a coil pipe, which usually contains oil inside.
The supervisors sent the workers to cut it without proper safety gear like anti-fire resistant glass, gloves and jacket, they said. They added that the accident occurred around 11:45am and the injured were taken to CMCH one you after the explosion.
Nur Hasan Sojib, inspector of Department of Environment (DoE), Chattogram, told The Daily Star, "The authority did not follow the due procedure of safety equipment leading to the accident."
Tapan Dutta, president of Shipbreaking Trade Union Forum said, "Owners don't supply workers with necessary safety gears and force them to work extra hours and send the workers to do risky work without following the guideline stipulated under shipbreaking rules."
In 2020 alone, ten workers died in shipbreaking yards, he added.