Why are workers still dying preventable deaths?

02 January 2023

When the 2013 tragedy of Rana Plaza or the horrific incident of Tazreen Fashion in 2012 still inflicts the mind of our working-class people, a news report of an English daily on Saturday said that at least 712 workers were killed in workplace accidents in 2022. The number of workplace deaths in 2021 was 538 while it was 433 in 2020. The reports based on a study conducted by Safety and Rights Society said the occurrences of workplace accidents were on the rise as preventive measures were not improved over the years. Casualties might count more if the workers who died outside the workplace or on the way to and from the workplace in road accidents or due to other causes were added to death row.
According to the report, in 2022, a total of 333 workers were killed in the transport sector, followed by 170 people in service establishments (such as workshops, gas, and electricity supply companies), 104 people in the construction sector, 62 people in the agriculture sector and  43  people in factories and other productive institutions. In terms of causes of death, 353 workers were killed in road accidents, 84 people in different explosions, 69 people electrocuted, 57 people in lightning, 45 people by falling from a height, 38 people hit or crushed by a hard or heavy object, 24 workers by drowning, 14 people burnt in the fire, and 14 people exposed to chemicals or toxic gases in septic tanks.
Road safety experts blamed the laxity in ensuring workers' safety, lack of safety equipment and proper training were some major reasons behind the rising number of deaths of workers this year. Besides, employers' negligence and lack of proper inspection by the government departments are also identified as the reasons for the increase in workplace fatalities.
However, some deaths in the workplace were not reported in the press and therefore remain completely outside our knowledge, but the human cost remains to be accumulated. As our fellow beings, we have to empathize with the deaths of these poor workers who may be unvalued by the state or society, but while alive, those people were only the surviving sources of their now unfortunate families. It was one of the responsibilities of the government to ensure the safety of the workers to create a decent work environment for sustainable development. But who can prevent these preventable deaths only by being responsible to fellow men living in distress?

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