THREE construction workers died as they fell from an under-construction 10-storied building at Baily Road in the capital. Such incidents are quite common in Bangladesh and it seems there is no one in the country who cares for it. It is painful that our policy-makers and intellectuals who are so vocal about social security and social justice, are hardly found talking about the insecurity of the construction workers. There is no one to help them substantially.
Now-a-days sufficient security measures are not taken by the construction firms who are engaged in construction of high-rise buildings. In a situation like this, the government should be mindful of the welfare aspects of construction workers. As the country is heading towards becoming a middle income country, a large number of construction workers will be required soon and so safety of these workers should be a greater concern.
There is another incident that happens quite frequently. It is about the construction workers dying in septic tanks. It is difficult however to identify person(s) responsible for such incidents, but the situation should not be allowed to continue. At the same time, it is also true that nobody can evade his/her responsibility? society, the government as well as the victims. Our society and the government should think seriously and introduce a system which will be supportive and helpful for the construction workers.
The concerned authority and policymakers of the government should think about this matter; otherwise we shall see more such deaths taking place. The authority has to make a coordinated plan to save the lives of construction workers in their work places. In this regard, an ongoing dialogue of experts in the field should be held and after that appropriate guideline may be framed for safety, security and welfare of the construction workers. In this context the following proposals may be considered:
1. Group insurance for construction workers as well as all of them must come under general insurance coverage. The employers shall bear all the expenses of insurance coverage.
2. Permanent damages (while working in the construction site) inflicted on the body of the workers which hinder prospects of employment must be taken to the notice of the employer and the employer must pay a reasonable amount of money to the workers or take responsibility of the treatment.
3. Families of the dead workers have to get immediate monetary and logistic help from the employer and the government for at least six months so that the families can overcome the initial stake after the incidents.
4. Prior permission must be sought from the Civil Defence or appropriate authority for the worker going into the septic tank so that the employer can take appropriate measures for safety of the concerned workers.
The appropriate authority should hold extensive discussions with experts and different stake holders.