Workers' safety blatantly ignored | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 17, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 17, 2019


Workers' safety blatantly ignored

If govt. can't ensure a safe work environment, who can?

It is unfortunate that within two days of the death of an electrician who fell off a pole of a traverse at the Carriage and Wagon Workshop of Bangladesh Railway (east zone) at Pahartali in Chattogram, at least nine workers of the same workshop fell sick due to inhalation of toxic gas. One of the victims is now in critical condition. Reportedly, a fire broke out at the workshop due to friction created while cutting a wagon. And when the workers tried to douse the fire using a fire extinguisher, they fell sick because they had inhaled the toxic gas emitted from the fire extinguisher. In a similar incident at the workshop on March 27, some 13 workers had fallen sick inhaling poisonous gas which leaked out from a pipeline. The recurrence of similar accidents at the workshop only shows the indifference and negligence of the workshop authorities in ensuring the safety of their workers.

Although the authorities have said that they have provided the workers with the necessary safety gear, reportedly, in all three cases, the workers were not wearing any. But isn't it also the responsibility of the workshop authorities to make sure that their workers wear safety gear? Furthermore, there remains confusion as to what exactly caused the fires in the two abovementioned incidents. It is simply not understandable why a fire extinguisher would emit toxic gas, meaning that the fire extinguisher was never tested for its contents. What is the point of having a fire extinguisher if people fall sick while using it? Instead of trying to put the blame on the workers, the workshop authorities must find out the real reasons behind these accidents and take necessary precautions in order to stop the recurrence of such incidents. In addition, they must ensure better treatment of the affected workers and compensate them as per the existing law.

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