ILO calls for workplace safety review following deadly fire in Bangladesh

ILO calls for workplace safety review following deadly fire in Bangladesh

After the devastating fire in Bangladesh, the UN’s labour agency ILO has urged workplaces to address their fire safety measures.

The fatal fire left more than 40 dead and hundreds more injured, including fire fighters who attended the scene. The cause of the fire was thought to be chemicals held in a container at the depot in Chittagong Seaport, close to Dhaka. Reports suggest the chemicals were not stored correctly, leading to the cause of the fire.

Now ILO is urging workplaces to consider fire safety and putting stronger safety measures in place to protect employees and businesses. In a statement, ILO said: “This incident illustrates the urgent need to ensure proper handling and storage of chemicals, proper training for storage facility staff at awareness and operational levels, and effective crowd control during an emergency incident.”

The event has also underlined the importance of effective safety framework that allows for stronger enforcement and training, to help mitigate the risks and hazards. ILO believes for this to be implemented more widely it will require “improved collaboration and partnership” between government departments, employers and workers representatives, and civil society.

Going forward, ILO has called for improved safety campaigns targeting transport, logistics and emergency-service providers. They are also urging for adequate compensation and income support to be provided to injured and disabled workers and the families of those who die in work-related accidents.

ILO has also highlighted the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy when a garment factory in an eight-story commercial building collapsed in the Savar Upazila of Dhaka District, saying that since then, it has continued to work closely with the government of Bangladesh, employers’ and workers’ organisations and development partners to improve working conditions in all industries.

The proper governmental monitoring of industries to ensure that industrial and accidental risks are properly understood, addressed and prevented is essential to improving safe working conditions in Bangladesh, ILO spelled out.

“ILO and the broader UN system in Bangladesh hopes that this tragic accident will drive all parties involved to apply renewed vigor in addressing the safety deficits in workplaces across the country and we extend our assistance to continue to build safer Bangladesh for all,” the statement said.

ILO has also extended its heartfelt condolences to the families of the injured and deceased and offered solidarity and assistance to build a safer Bangladesh for all.