Bangladesh Workers Safety Programme (BWSP) is the main programme of Safety and Rights Society with an aim to ensure compensation for the injured workers or dependants of deceased workers. BWSP is concerned with improving the health and safety conditions faced by workers in Bangladesh and ensuring that, following a workplace death and injury, dependent families and injured workers receive appropriate compensation according to the law.
There is no accurate data on the number of workplace deaths and injuries in Bangladesh, but the International Labour Organisation has in the past estimated that about 14,400 workers die in work-related ‘accidents’ – comprising 1,800 in the industrial and service sectors and 12,600 in the agricultural sector. It also estimates that there are hundreds of thousands of workplace injuries.
Although health and safety legislation exists in Bangladesh, compliance is low and state enforcement is minimal.
Most employers have little understanding of their legal obligations and are provided minimal guidance to help them understand what they need to do to comply with the law. It is often difficult for even the best employers to comply with the law.
In addition, workers and trade unions often do not know what actions they can take to improve workplace health and safety conditions.
As a result, the conditions faced by most workers in the industrial, service and agricultural sectors are very poor.
Furthermore, when workers are injured or killed at work, it is rare for the workers or the dependent families to receive the level of compensation that the law demands. As a result, the families of the injured and deceased worker can fall into poverty.
And even when the death or injury was the result of serious employer failure, state bodies rarely bring those responsible to account.