Saturday, 22 January, 2022

Why non-RMG workers left uncared for?

Why non-RMG workers left uncared for?

Every worker has the right to return from work unharmed every day. But many are not lucky enough to return to their loved ones from their workplaces, mainly because of a callous disregard to workers’ safety in many factories. A study of Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has recorded 82 factory accidents of different types where about 167 workers have died and 256 got injured. That means on an average one accident took place in every two days which could have been avoided if safety measures were strictly enforced. Surprisingly, the CPD study finds, factory owners and management have limited interest to invest in safety measures while the non-RMG workers are not fully aware of the safety concerns.

Safety of workers at workplace is an issue of human life and survival, and yet it is being neglected in non-RMG factories. While safety environment in RMG factories has been improved significantly after Tazrin fire and Rana Plaza collapse, safety measures in other types of factories remained as flimsy as ever.  Majority of these accidents are related to fire and other reasons that include electrical, boiler explosion and related issues. 

Housing, hospitals and market places, commercial and factories are the main places of accidents. Construction workers and day labourers and others who belong to the unorganised sector and enjoy no institutional support are the most vulnerable in this regard.

Many of them are also seen meeting a tragic death by falling from under construction high-rise building or by being electrocuted while toiling for a pittance. Sadly, incidents of workers’ death for whatever reason hardly create a ripple in the power corridor or in society’s consciousness. Earlier the country’s main export sector RMG factories were also plagued by workplace disasters but situation has improved in this sector because of international pressure, while there seems to be no one to pressurize to ensure safety in non-RMG factories.

We call upon the government to spare some thoughts to ensure workplace safety of non-RMG factories. As mentioned above, workplace safety is a fundamental human right and it must be ensured by strictly enforcing occupational safety and health system and related laws in each and every workplace.