Dhaka, Tuesday 13 June 2017: The Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress (BFTUC) and Bangladesh Building and Wood Workers Federation (BBWWF) in a joint press statement condemn the disregard for workers’ safety took place on Tuesday (6 June 2017) at an under-construction building situated in Dhaka’s Bailey Road area. The three victims fell off the 10-storey building of Rupayan Group when the bamboo scaffolding collapsed around 3:00pm, said Shipon, a co-worker of them.

Deceased Joynul, 18, Sayeem, 17, and Jahangir, 26, hailed from Uttar Alampur village of Golapganj upazila in Sylhet, said Sub-inspector Bachchu Mia of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) police outpost.

BFTUC and BBWWF urged the authorities concerned to give exemplary punishment to those responsible for the sorrowful death by investigating the incident properly. The families of the dead workers must also be adequately compensated.

According to the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006, no owner can assign workers without ensuring their personal safety and providing the required safety gear, but the Rupayan building incident shows that the provision of the Labour Act was ignored completely. Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) should act promptly in line with the Bangladesh Labour Act.

This is a glaring example of the utter negligence with which workers are treated. In this incident, these three young men were working on a bamboo scaffolding to set up a lift while there was no supervisor from the construction company to oversee their work.

BFTUC Secretary General Repon Chowdhury said “We must to have establish rule of labour law at all construction sites with strong work place safety enforcement.  This abhorrent callousness towards human life is unacceptable and must be dealt with very strictly.

Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) states that 1,195 construction workers have been killed between 2005 and 2016. The 2014 National Building Code stipulates that everyone working with concrete must wear helmets and gloves. In addition, construction companies are supposed to make sure that any open space that may pose any danger or risk of fall has to be covered or cordoned off.

BFTUC Secretary General Repon Chowdhury said “We must to have establish rule of labour law at all construction sites with strong work place safety enforcement.  This abhorrent callousness towards human life is unacceptable and must be dealt with very strictly. Construction companies cannot treat workers who literally make their buildings, as expendable units of production. They have to be made liable for any death or injury to a worker during work on a site. We expect that the authorities will properly investigate this case and mete out exemplary punishment to those who are responsible for such negligence and utter disregard for basic safety for workers.”

According to reports published in the newspaper, the police have said a case for ‘negligence of supervision’ would be filed regarding the Rupayan Building incident.  To minimise the menace, employers will have to raise awareness among the workers by giving them safety training on their work-related risks and safety measures equipping them with necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

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