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Accidents continue at Bangladesh shipbreaking yards

1 May, 2020A worker was critically injured at the Tahsin Steel shipbreaking yard, Chittagong, on 28 April, International Workers Memorial Day. This year alone, at least six workers have been killed at Bangladesh shipbreaking yards.

Ironically, on International Workers Memorial Day, 45-year old Khalil, who worked as a cutter, suffered serious injuries to his leg as he was hit by a huge iron pipe while working inside a ship. He was first taken to the hospital run by Bangladesh Shipbreakers and Recyclers Association (BSBA) and later moved to Dhaka for surgery.

Kan Matsuzaki, IndustriALL shipbreaking director says:

“It is totally unacceptable that a serious accident happened on the world safety day. The recent series of accidents expose inadequate safety measures and a negligence from the employers. BSBA and the government should immediately adopt the safety procedures under the Shipbreaking Act 2018, which is in line with the Hong Kong convention. Save workers lives now!”

The accident follows previous accidents in a shipbreaking yards this year: in March two workers were killed and one seriously injured at Khwaza Kabir Steel Shipbreaking Yard, in February a worker fell from a great height in a ship and suffered serious injuries at the Four Star Shipbreaking Yard.

So far in 2020, at least six workers were killed and many suffered injuries in accidents in the Bangladesh shipbreaking yards. In 2019 at least 24 workers died and around 79 workers were injured in various accidents.

The accidents are frequently caused by fires and explosions, falling objects, falls from height inside the ship structures or on the ground, moving objects, winches and cranes hoisting and hauling equipment.

Work at the shipbreaking yards has continued for most of the Covid-19 lockdown. They were only closed between 9-17 April, and the majority are operating again. Inadequate Covid-19 containment measures at the yards expose workers to the infection.