With help from Norway, the government is going to set up a training institute for ship-breaking workers in a bid to make them aware of the occupational health hazards and reduce causalities in the yards, said [Bangladesh’s] Industries Minister Dilip Barua yesterday.
He also said the government has prepared a draft policy for the ship-breaking industry and posted it on the website a month ago to get comments on it from mass people.
He was speaking as the chief guest at a workshop styled “Occupational safety and health at ship-breaking industry of Bangladesh: Current status and way forward” organised by Bangladesh Occupational Safety Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) and Asia Monitor Resource Centre at Senate Bhaban in Dhaka University.
The task of breaking ships is very risky and mostly workers from monga (seasonal and localised famine)-hit northern districts take up the work.
The minister, however, did not mention when and where the training institute will be built.
There are around 80 ship-breaking yards and around 50,000 workers work there, speakers said.
A total of 43 workers died and 92 others were injured in several accidents from 2008 to 2010 in the shipyards, they said.
On an average, seven to eight accidents took place in the shipyards almost everyday, but most of them remain unnoticed, they added.
Speakers also expressed their concern as such ships bear toxic substance, which may cause health hazard to the workers and environmental pollution in the long run.
They urged the government to be strict to bar import of such ships.
SM Morshed of OSHE chaired the workshop.