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Newspaper Survey Report

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Newspaper Survey Report on Workplace Deaths
January-December of 2015
Safety and Rights Society, 14/23 Babor Road
Block-B, Mohammadpur, Dhaka
Background

Workplace accident in Bangladesh is out of control even though some measures were taken by Accord and Alliance to ensure building, fire and electrical safety of garment industries after Rana Plaza and Tazreen disaster.

Safety and Rights’ newspaper based survey involving 15 national and 11 regional newspapers showed that this year, 373 workers have died in workplace accidents.

in 2014, 320 workers died;

in 2013, 376 workers died (excluding the 1134 confirmed Rana Plaza deaths);

in 2012, the figure was 378 (excluding the 112 deaths caused by the Tazreen factory fire-112);

in 2011, the figure was 388;

in 2010 the figure was 383;

in 2009 the figure it was 265;

and in 2008 number it was 320.

These figures are likely of course to be a significant under-estimate of the actual numbers, since most or many workplace deaths are not likely to be reported in newspapers.

Fire caused 253 deaths (92, 15, 117, 17, and 12 respectively from 2010 to 2014) in the last five years, and this year this key killed 31 workers.

Since the Tazreen fire, 62 workers have lost their lives.

In 2010 two big fire accidents took place, one is on February at Garib and Garib (21 deaths) and the other in December at Hamim group (31 deaths).

Analysis of deaths in 2015 (Jan-Dec)

We have analysed these deaths by looking at the following issues:

- the number of deaths and numbers of separate incidents resulting in the deaths;

- the district where the death took place;

- the sector in which the death took place;

- in relation to the manufacturing and services sector, the ‘sub-sector’ in which the death took place;

- the month of the year when the death took place;

- the ages of the workers who died;

- the gender of the workers; and

- the cause of deaths.

Deaths by District

Table 1: Deaths by District, 2015 (Jan-Dec)

SL No

District

2015 (Jan-Dec)

%

Nos of incidents

Nos of deaths

1.

Dhaka

78

103

27.9

2.

Chittagong

48

63

16.5

3.

Gazipur

19

32

8.7

4.

Narayanganj

20

23

6.2

5.

Sylhet

5

11

2.7

6.

Barisal

8

9

2.4

7.

Bagerhat

2

8

2.2

8.

Comilla

5

7

1.9

9.

Bandarbans

2

2

0.5

10.

Barguna

1

1

0.3

11.

Benapole

1

1

0.3

12.

Bhola

2

2

0.5

13.

Bogra

3

5

1.4

14.

Brahmanbaria

5

5

1.4

15.

Chandpur

3

3

0.8

16.

Chapainawabganj

1

1

0.3

17.

Chuadanga

2

5

1.4

18.

Dinajpur

1

1

0.3

19.

Gaibandha

2

2

0.5

20.

Gopalganj

2

3

0.8

21.

Hobiganj

2

3

0.8

22.

Jessore

2

2

0.5

23.

Joypurhat

1

1

0.3

24.

Khulna

2

2

0.5

25.

Kishoreganj

3

4

1.1

26.

Kushtia

4

5

1.4

27.

Lalmonirhat

1

1

0.3

28.

Laxmipur

1

2

0.5

29.

Madaripur

2

3

0.8

30.

Manikganj

4

5

1.4

31.

Moulvibazar

1

1

0.3

32.

Munsiganj

9

11

3.0

33.

Mymensingh

6

6

1.6

34.

Naogaon

1

1

0.3

35.

Narail

1

1

0.3

36.

Narsingdi

2

3

0.8

37.

Natore

4

4

1.1

38.

Netrokona

6

7

1.9

39.

Nilphamari

1

1

0.3

40.

Noakhali

1

3

0.8

41.

Pabna

2

2

0.5

42.

Patuakhali

1

1

0.3

43.

Pirojpur

1

1

0.3

44.

Rajbari

1

2

0.5

45.

Rajshahi

3

4

1.1

46.

Rangpur

2

2

0.5

47.

Satkhira

1

1

0.3

48.

Sirajganj

5

5

1.4

49.

Sunamganj

1

1

0.3

50.

Tangail

1

1

0.3

Total

282

373

100

Table 1 shows that in 2015 there was a total of 282 incidents that resulted in 373 deaths.

The table also shows that about 28 percent of the deaths (103) took place in Dhaka district. Sizeable numbers of deaths are also reported in Chittagong (63), Gazipur (32), Narayanganj (23), Munsiganj (11), Sylhet (11), Barisal (9), and Bagerhat (8) - a scenario that is very similar to previous years except Munsiganj, since these places are also host to a high concentration of SME and large industries.

Table 2: Percentage of deaths in key districts, 2015

District

% of death in 2015 (Jan-Dec)

Dhaka

27.9

Chittagong

16.5

Gazipur

8.7

Narayanganj

6.2

Sylhet

2.7

Munsiganj

3.0

Barisal

2.4

Bagerhat

2.2

Comilla

1.9

Deaths by Sector and cause

Table 3: Workplace deaths by sector, 2015

2015 (Jan-Dec)

Sector

Number of Death

% of total

Constructions

147

39.4

Service

101

27.1

Manufacturing

93

24.9

Transport

26

7.0

Agriculture

6

1.6

Total

373

100%

Table 3 shows the number of deaths was highest in the Construction sector (147) followed by Service (101), Manufacturing (93), and Transport (26) sector.

Though the total number of workers involved in manufacturing compared to the construction sector is higher, the number of deaths is higher in the construction sector, suggest that there are significant risks in this sector.

Table 4: Deaths in the Manufacturing sector – by kind of workplace

Kind of Workplace

Number of deaths (Jan-Dec of 2015)

 

Brick field

4

Cement

2

Dying

1

Garment/textile

15

Jute Mill

1

Lade workshop

1

Medicine

2

Packaging

1

Paper Mill

4

Plastic Factory

24

Polymer

1

Power loom

1

Press

2

Pulse mill

1

Rice mill

6

Saw Mill

1

Ship breaking/ building

10

Shoe Factory

3

Shrimp Farm

1

Spinning Mill

2

Steel/Re-rolling Mill

7

Stone Crashing

1

Other factories

2

Total

93

Table 4 shows that Plastic factory (24 deaths), Garment/textile (15 deaths), Ship Breaking/Building (10 deaths), Steel/Re-rolling mill (7 deaths), Rice mills (6 deaths), brick field (4 deaths) and Paper mill (4 deaths) were the most common locations for deaths in the manufacturing sector.

Table 5: Main kinds of Deaths in the Service Sector – by kind of activity

Kind of Activity

Number of deaths (Jan-Dec of 2015)

AC Installer/Mechanic

4

Balloon Seller/Hawker

3

Billboard Installer

1

Cable line/dish line Connector

6

Caretaker

1

Chemical Co.

1

Day Labour

48

Electricity Supplier

4

Electrician

11

Fisheries/Fisherman

3

Furniture Shop

2

Hotel

2

Laundry

1

Motor/Small Engineering Workshop

5

Port worker

4

Railway

1

Shop employee

2

Store house

1

Wasa

1

Total

101

Table 5 shows that in the service sector, day labourers suffered the highest number of deaths (48) followed by electrician (11), cable/dish-line installer (6), small engineering workshops (5), electricity supplier (4), and AC installer/Mechanic (4). It is significant that this year 4 port workers were killed.

Table 6: Death by ‘sector’ and ‘cause’

Year- 2015 (Jan-Dec)

 

Electro-

cution

Fall from height

Crushed by object

Boiler explosion

Earth collapse

Suffoc

-ation with poisonous gas

Building/

Wall/Roof collapse

Fire

Chemical/

Gas explosion

Misc/Sink/ Road accident

Lightning

Total

Construction

56

40

4

-

3

16

22

4

2

-

-

147

Manufacturing

9

1

26

7

1

4

1

21

9

14

-

93

Service

43

3

15

-

13

3

-

6

6

10

2

101

Transport

1

-

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

23

-

26

Agriculture

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

5

06

Total

110

44

47

7

17

23

23

31

17

47

7

373

% of total

29.8

11.7

12.7

1.9

4.3

6.2

6.2

8.4

4.6

12.2

1.9

100%

Table 6 shows that ‘electrocution’ caused the highest number of deaths (110 deaths representing about 30 percent of the total) along with ‘crushed by object’ (47 deaths representing about 13 percent of the total), ‘falls from heights’ (44 deaths, representing about 12 percent of the total), and ‘fire’ (31 deaths representing about 8 percent of the total). In the major sectors such as construction and service, ‘electrocution’ caused the highest number of deaths. The data also shows that due to earth collapse, 16 workers, most of them were involved as day labourer, died; due to suffocation and building/wall/roof collapse, 46 workers died most of them were involved in construction sector.  The road accident caused 23 workers death of which most of them were driver, supervisor or conductor died in this year.

Death by age

Table 7: Deaths by age

2015 (Jan-Dec)

Age at death

Number of Death

% in category

0-10

00

0.0

11-20

31

8.4

21-30

123

33.1

31-40

70

19.0

41-50

32

8.4

51-60

07

1.6

61+

03

0.8

Unknown

107

28.7

 

373

100.0

Table 7 shows that the age distribution of workers who died during January to December of 2015. It is notable that about 42% of the workers who died were 30 years or younger, and most of the worker who died were under 40 year of age. The table also significantly shows that the age of a huge number of deaths (107) was unknown as it was not mentioned in the newspapers.

Death by gender

Table 8: Deaths by gender

Gender

Nos of Death Jan-Dec of 2015

 

%

Male worker

353

94.6

Female worker

14

3.8

Unknown

06

1.6

Total

373

100

Table 8 shows that the vast majority of workers who died were male – 353 out of 373. Only 14 female works died in 2015 where the identity of 6 workers was unknown. In percentage terms, about 95% workers who died were male and only 4% were female.

Death by month

Table 9: Deaths by months

Month

Number of deaths (Jan-Dec of 2015)

January

30

February

33

March

41

April

38

May

28

June

37

July

18

August

21

September

48

October

36

November

20

December

23

Total

373

Table 9 shows that in July the number of deaths was the lowest and in September the number of deaths was the highest during the year. It also shows that in the first quarter (January-March) the number of deaths was 102 where in the second quarter (April-June) the number of deaths was 100 and in the third quarter (July-September) it was 87 and in the last quarter of the year (October-December) it was 79. The highest number of deaths took place in the first quarter.

Summary of Findings

-          The number of workplace deaths identified was 373 in 2015, which was significantly high than the numbers in the last year, which were at around 320.

-          More than 94% of the deaths involved male workers;

-          The highest percentage of deaths involved workers between 21 and 30 years of age;

-          The highest number of deaths are in Dhaka district  - with Chittagong, Gazipur and Narayanganj having significant numbers;

-          The highest number of deaths was in the construction sector;

-          The highest number of manufacturing deaths took place in plastic factories along with garments, ship breaking/building, steel/re-rolling mill, rice mills and brickfield;

-          Electrocution, falls from height, crushed by objects, building/wall/roof collapse, fire, explosion and suffocation were the most common cause of deaths.

 

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