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ILO expresses solidarity with the families of BM Container Depot fire victims

| Updated: June 07, 2022 12:02:59


Drone footage shows smoke rising from the spot after a massive fire broke out in an inland container depot at Sitakunda, near the port city Chittagong, Bangladesh, June 5, 2022 in this still image obtained from a handout video. Al Mahmud BS/Handout via REUTERS Drone footage shows smoke rising from the spot after a massive fire broke out in an inland container depot at Sitakunda, near the port city Chittagong, Bangladesh, June 5, 2022 in this still image obtained from a handout video. Al Mahmud BS/Handout via REUTERS

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Bangladesh office on Monday expressed its condolence and solidarity with the families of the injured and deceased due to the fire and explosion at BM Container Depot.

The ILO is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life of at least 49 people including nine fire services professionals from the fire and explosion on Saturday.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences and solidarity with the families of the injured and deceased", it said in a statement.

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.

Additionally, the incident underscores the need for an effective industrial and enterprise safety framework and enforcement and training system to ensure a structured approach to mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery to all hazards, said the statement.

This will require improved collaboration and partnership between government departments, employers and workers' representatives, and civil society.

Tackling this problem calls for action in a number of areas.

These include a review of regulations and enforcement in the transport and logistics sector, the payment of adequate compensation and income support to injured and disabled workers and families of workers who lost lives in work-related accidents and conducting safety campaigns that target transport/logistic service providers as well as emergency-service personnel.

Recently the government, employer and worker representatives have agreed to roll out a modern, comprehensive Employment Injury Scheme (EIS) in Bangladesh starting from the ready-made garment (RMG) sector, with the possibility of extension to other sectors.

Such a system includes accident prevention, immediate and long-term compensation, and rehabilitation to return to work.

The ILO continues to work closely with the Government of Bangladesh, employers’ and workers’ organisations and development partners to improve working conditions in all industries expanding learning from the ready-made garment RMG industry since the Rana Plaza tragedy in April 2013.  

Proper monitoring of industries by the government to ensure that industrial and accidental risks are properly understood, addressed and prevented is essential to improving safe working conditions in Bangladesh.

ILO and the broader UN system in Bangladesh hope that this tragic accident will drive all parties involved to apply renewed vigour in addressing the safety deficits in workplaces across the country and they have extended their assistance to continue to build a safer Bangladesh for all.

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