Bangladesh workplace deaths double in 2016

Bangladesh has been struggling for repairing it’s damaged reputation as unsafe workplace, particularly after the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building on the 24th April 2013 killing 1,135 innocent people.

It has experienced 1,402 casualties in the workplace last year, according to a report published by the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS). Last year 699 died and 703 were injured in the workplace. The report found the number of the casualties almost doubled in 2016 compared to 2015. In 2016, 699 workers died in the workplace and 703 people were injured.

In 2015, the number of deaths was 745, in 2014 it was 1,288 and in 2013 it was 7,650, including the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse.

The riskiest sector appears to be transport, where 249 workers died last year.

Last year, the ready made garments (RMG) sector experienced nine worker deaths and 206 injuries. Of the injured, 145 were female.

The RMG sector is recognised as formal sector and after the Rana Plaza incident many compliance measures were taken by the government.

BILS Senior Researcher Afzal Kabir Khan said although compliance measures to ensure safety at the RMG workplaces were taken those were not implemented fully in all factories.

Casualties at construction sites present a more alarming picture. In 2016, there were 182 casualties on construction sites, of which 85 were deaths and 97 injuries.

But construction workers are not recognised by the Labour law 2013 as this sector is regulated by separate law.

According to a report published by the Bangladesh Institute of Labor Studies (BILS), an organisation working on labour rights, 888 workers died in accidents and violence at workplace in 2016. Of those 699 people died in the accident, which is almost double the number of death 363 in 2015. The remaining 189 workers died due to violence. The report further records 1,093 workers were injured in the accident in the workplace. The BILS refers to various news reports in the national newspapers in Bangladesh from 01 January to 31 December 2016 for the numbers and their research findings.

The report further breaks down that 249 workers have died in the transport sector. The second highest death toll of 85 workers occurred in the construction sector. 52 people in the fish sector, 46 in agriculture sector and 39 workers in the packaging sector died. Most of the packaging sector died due to the fire incident in Tongi’s Tampako factory. Nine people have died in last year’s clothing sector, but in the year other than the case of workers deaths in the garments sector.

The reasons for the death of workers in the workplace include road accidents, electrocution, fall from high, fire, poisonous gas, boiler explosion.