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Inadequate Enforcement of Safety Regulations Caused Another Tragedy In Bangladesh


BY: Sakib Tariq



A gas pipeline explosion took the lives of over 24 worshippers near Bangladesh’s capital city, Dhaka. The explosion occurred during Isha prayers, the obligatory night prayer for Muslims, in the Narayanganj district. Within the first 24 hours, 11 had succumbed to burn damages, some with burn damages affecting over 90 percent of their bodies.


Officials attribute the blast to a faulty pipeline that had been leaking under the masjid. "We primarily suspect that gas leaked from the pipeline and accumulated inside the mosque since the windows were shut. When the air conditioners were turned on, due to sparks the gas could have exploded," said Abdullah Al Arefin, a senior fire service official.


The explosion was another example of the dangers of lackadaisical safety regulations. 


Bangladesh is no stranger to accidents caused by safety violations. Safety laws are often disregarded during construction and maintenance. In April of 2013, an 8-story Dhaka garments factory collapsed due to structural failures. According to the head of the National Fire Service, Brig. Gen. Ali Ahmed Khan, an initial investigation found that the Rana Plaza building violated codes, with the four upper floors having been constructed illegally without permits. Several other architects noted that the building was not able to safely hold its capacity before the collapse. The incident was met with international concern, as many of the factories supplied garments to the western world.


Despite the creation of the Accord On Factory and Building Safety in Bangladesh in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza Collapse, there have been numerous, avoidable accidents. In February of 2019, over 70 people died after a massive fire raced through buildings in Chawkbazar. Dr. Md. Manjur Morshed, assistant professor of urban planning at Khulna University of Engineering and Technology in Khulna said that government regulations had been consistently ignored in the area.


Workers suffer the most from poor infrastructure and loose safety rules, as figures from 2017 estimate that over 24,500 workers have died from work-related deaths. It is widely recognized that most work-related incidents that have caused injury were entirely avoidable if workers and employers applied simple safety measures to the workplace. In a report by labour rights organizations, high-risk safety hazards were present in all of the garment factories under government control. Workers are also paid a small amount, as wages in Bangladesh’s garments factory are among the lowest in all of Asia.



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