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High number of construction workers dieing at the workplace: Survey

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PRESS RELEASE

A new detailed report into media-reported work-place deaths in 2007 shows that almost half of all worker deaths take place in the construction sector.

Based upon a scrutiny of 17 national newspapers - and separate investigations into one quarter of the incidents - the report shows of the 222 deaths,103 of them were in the construction sector.

The report, published today 19th November 2008 by the Bangladesh Worker Safety Programme (BWSP) is the product of joint research by BWSP, Bangladesh Occupational Safety Health and Environmental Foundation (OSHE) and Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS). It sets out the circumstances of all 222 deaths – who, when and how the workers died. It is the first time that such a report has been published in Bangladesh.

The report’s analysis shows that:

- a total of 164 separate incidents resulted in 222 deaths

- almost half of the reported deaths (84) took place in Dhaka district – though there were sizeable numbers reported in Chittagong (34), Narayangang (18) and Gazipur (11)

- only 14 of the 222 workers who died were woman – 6%.

- of the 188 workers whose ages we were able to identify, 64% (115) were 30 years or younger. Almost one fifth of all the workers who died were under the age of 20.

- the construction sector had by far the highest number of deaths (103). In addition there were 63 deaths in the manufacturing sector and 42 in the service sector. –

- in the manufacturing sector, the most deaths took place in the Rice Mills (12), the steel/re-rolling mills (6) and the garment sector (6).

- the most common causes of all deaths was ‘electrocution’ (54) and ‘falls from heights’ (38).

Commenting at the launch of the report, David Bergman, Director of the Bangladesh Worker Safety Programme said:

“Most workplace deaths are not reported in the national newspapers, so it is likely that the deaths set out in the report simply represent a small tip of a large iceberg. In fact the ILO estimate that in the industrial and service sectors there are likely to be 1700 worker deaths each year. However the report provides useful information for those concerned to improve workplace conditions and should in particular act as a ‘wake-up call’ for developers and contractors in the construction sector”

This report concerns deaths of workers at the workplace arising out of issues relating to occupational health and safety and concerned with the management of the work. Therefore, road traffic incidents that happen to result in either deaths of workers traveling to or from work or in deaths of drivers are not included in this report. The report also does not include deaths of workers as a result of police, or other kinds of, violence or in incidents outside of the workplace. The report does not include details of agricultural deaths or deaths at sea.