Category: Industrial Accident

Rana Plaza Collapse, Bangladesh- 24th April 2013

On 24 April 2013, rana plaza in Savar housing, Dhaka collapsed killing 1,134 and injuring more than 2500 people ( different source mentions different number of deaths and injured). This building had done illegal extension of floor reaching 9 floors. There were Five garment factories, shops, banks in this plaza.

The factories in this plaza were producing garments for international brands i.e. Inditex (ZARA), Carrefour, H & M, Gap, Mango, C & A, Joe Fresh, Walmart etc. Brands didn’t took responsibility for unsafe condition in the factories.

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Under pressure from public brands paid 30 Million dollars and had to come up with two watchdogs:

  • Accord on Fire and Building safety
  • Alliance on Worker Safety

Read More on Compliance Requirements here: What is Compliance? Understanding Compliance in Textile Sector

Even after 6 years the survivors have not been fully compensated. Transparency International Bangladesh found our that 51% of the survivors are still jobless and most of them have not been paid any type of compensation.

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Now the survivors are on hunger strike and have 11 demands some of the demands are as follows::

  • Taking steps for the rehabilitation of the survivors
  • Providing medical services to them for life
  • Announcing 24 April as the National Rana Plaza Mourning Day
  • Bearing the education expenses of the victims’ children
  • Ensuring highest punishment of those responsible for the tragedy and confiscating their assets.

6 Years have passed but the people responsible for the accident have not been prosecuted as of yet. Sohel Rana, the owner of the factory with other responsible persons are on Bail. Sohel Rana was convicted on hidding his assets but not on killing.

Even after such incident, Bangladeshi are still struggling for their basic rights. Recently hundreds of Garments workers were fired just for demanding rise in basic pay.

Bangladesh Govt., International brands, NGOs need to do more for provision of Bangladesh Garment workers rights.

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Chemical Plant Explosion in China

Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Company Explosion site and range: Bing Map,
Photo Credits: New York Times

On 21st March, 2019, around 15:00 an explosion occurred in Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Plant. Some take away points from this Environmental Disaster are as follows:

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  • This accident killed almost 78 and injured more than 600 people
  • Cause of this accident is not under investigation
  • According to one survivor, fire started from a Methane Truck and spread to benzene storage area that caused explosion
  • It took almost 12 hours to take the fire under control (Fire started on Thursday shapely before 15:00 and at 3:00 am Friday fire fighter controlled it. At 7:00 am, Friday, situation was under control.
  • Almost 900 Firefighter participated in fire extinguishing process
  • Explosion caused a mini earthquake with 2.2 range
  • Due to this explosion glasses of buildings were broken within 5 Km range. There are several residential areas in this 5 km range and
  • There are three elementary schools and two kindergartens within 2 km of the explosion site
  • International journalist were blocked from visit the area/Hospitals and anti drone technology was used to stop shoot of the explosion area by news channels. Only few local journalist were allowed to visit the site and hospitals.
  • Almost 4000 local were evacuated from the area
  • This chemical plant was fined several times by the regulatory authority for violation of Safety Laws but was allowed to keep operating
  • Jiangsu environmental protection bureau conducted air quality monitoring of the disaster area and found that levels of benzene , toluene and xylene were not abnormal and chloroform and acetone in disaster area were within limits

There have been consistent disasters like this in china, in 2015 similar blast in Tianjin killed 170 people in southeast of Beijing. According to Greenpeace there is on accident/day in china related to chemical plants.
Locals in & around these chemical industries are concerned about their safety but they are even afraid form Chinese authorities, to speak up.