Specialized Labour Institution

Empower Workers, Promote Decent Work & Sustainable Development

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Promotion of Decent Work for Ship Breaking Workers in Chittagong

Since 2006 OSHE has been working for improvement of workplace in ship breaking industry in Kumira, Chittagong. During reporting period, following activities were done under the project titled “promotion of decent work for ship breaking workers in Bangladesh supported by FNV, a Netherlands based trade union platform.

Study Circle:

A total of 32 study circle were conducted where 1400 workers participated. In this process, a group of workers consisting 25 persons attend the study circle. Content of this knowledge sharing sessions include occupational safety and health, importance for organizing the unorganised, labour law, occupational safety & health and different aspects of decent work. As a result, the workers are now more conscious about their safety and rights at workplace and more responsive to implementation of labour law.

Health Camp:

OSHE emphasise on health care of workers in ship breaking yard considering previous records of occupational accidents here. In 2015, 46 indoor and 48 outdoor health camps were organized different parts around the yard. 2000 workers received treatment and free medicine. OSHE medical team headed by an MBBS doctor is always available in health centre for emergency response and medical advice.    

Organizing the unorganized:

Total 1180 ship breaking workers were sensitized on the issues of importance of organizing for collective bargaining, collective actions for their wellbeing, engaging with different registered trade unions and worker’s cooperative association etc. Among them 674 workers got membership with Ship breaking workers federation and another 496 got membership with Jahaj Bhanga Shilpo Protisthan Sromik Union

Documentation on Occupational Accidents:

OSHE emphasises on documentation of information related to occupational accidents in workplaces including the ship breaking yard. Last year, 14 Ship-breaking workers died and 27 were injured due to occupational accidents. Most of them were burnt from gas explosion.

Assistance for accident compensation:

OSHE assists the accident victims and their family members in getting compensation from employers and provide legal support in a referral mechanism. OSHE also provide support to the trade unions for bargaining with year owners to get compensation in accordance with existing laws.  

Formation of Workers Safety Committee:

Formation of 4 workers safety committee was facilitated by OSHE Project Team. This committee contributed in managing local leadership to promote the culture of occupation safety among the workers.  

First Aid Training:

20 workers participated in first aid training course and got knowledge on fire safety, OSH, rescue, utilization of Personal Protective Equipments and other issues relevant to emergency health response.

Advocacy and Awareness Raising Program:

As a result of long time advocacy for legal framework of ship breaking work, the Ministry of Industries endorsed Ship breaking and Ship Recycling Rules and OSHE initiated awareness raising activities on this for clear understanding of workers and also their responsibility in its implementation.

Impact of OSHE interventions in Ship breaking yard:

  • Better awareness on occupational safety and health and number of accidents reduced
  • Behavioral change observed, particularly utilization of PPE increased among the workers
  • The safety committee played active role in promotion of safety culture
  • The workers showed interest in getting membership with association /trade union and culture of collective actins promoted
  • Accidents victims got compensation within a short time
  • Employers showed positive response in dealing with workers and employers - workers relationship improved
  • OSHE documentation findings on occupational accidents were published both at national and international newspapers

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